NewsCut at 10

I was pretty sure when I started NewsCut, if I could get four years out of it, that would be beyond my wildest dreams and close enough to retirement that I could scrounge my way to the finish line.

But the pain in my stomach that dogged me the weekend before the first post told me that there was no way it could survive long at MPR News, where that first idea for another blog years earlier, when I was managing editor of our website, lasted four days before the boss, citing a letter he received calling it “juvenile and sophomoric”, pulled the plug. Back then, trolls sent actual letters.

The blog? Citizen Spin.

In a bucket of great ideas — some of which worked, some didn’t — Citizen Spin remains my favorite. It would’ve been a huge hit if we hadn’t been so fearful of failure in the early days of the internet here.

A later boss took a big risk when he created NewsCut.

There’s not much MPRish about NewsCut to the public radio purists who demand something more stately, sober, and academic as befits the dignity of the institution. A little less “public” even, wouldn’t be a bad idea, some of them argue. Admittedly, there are days I tend to agree.

But it’s also important in this business to try new things to not only tell the news but also help people process it, even if it risks failure and the wrath of the purists.

News blogs come and most every news blog in the Twin Cities eventually goes. This is the last of them.

Today, it turns 10 years old.

Posting will be light today as I’m en route to Minnesota. Talk amongst yourselves in the comments section.

  • jon

    Happy birthday newscut!

    Quick question, when newscut reaches the legal drinking age can we start to expect more posts at midnight with signing grammatical and spelling errors?

    • wjc

      It has already reached legal age — in blog years.

  • wjc

    Congratulations, Bob! Fantastic!

  • Thank you for all you do here, Bob. NewsCut has been a source of many story ideas for me at WCCO, but better than that it’s been a source for a lot of thought and reconsidering of my views or positions on issues. Plus we’ve met a lot of amazing people along the way.

  • Congratulations, Bob! You do a great job.

    It’s weird to think that NewsCut would be considered edgy. I love it, but in the scheme of things it’s respectfully journalistic. Of course, this is coming from a guy who used to explain serious financial stories using a sock puppet. So I’m probably not the best judge of these things.

    BTW, I just looked at Citizen Spin and you’re right. It’s a blast to read and I’m sorry it didn’t stick around.

    • >>Of course, this is coming from a guy who used to explain serious financial stories using a sock puppet.<<

      I wonder if this idea has been floated to explain national issues to the current occupant of the White House?

  • AL287

    While I admit that I’ve made some snarky comments on Newscut, Bob, you are amazing at keeping trolls at bay.

    I don’t think anyone who posts regularly on this blog would want the job of moderating all the comments posted here.

    The thing I like the best is that I can get an honest and fairly objective take on news stories that have already been hashed and rehashed on commercial blogs.

    Travel safely and we look forward to your next 10 years of blogging.

    Happy anniversary!

  • kevins

    Congrats!! NewsCut keeps the “civil” in civil disobedience.

  • Gary F

    10 years, that’s old in both dog and internet years. Good job.

    Are you through the grieving period yet over your baseball team?

  • MikeB

    A hearty congratulations on this milestone. This is my daily habit, thank you for your hard work over they years.

    BTW, I had let my MPR donations lapse a while ago. But being a daily reader of yours convinced me to become a sustaining member, just because of NewsCut.


  • BJ

    That means I’ve know you for over a decade. I think NewsCut was 2-3 years away when I first did some sponsorship on the old political blog.

  • Dave S.

    An important achievement to be sure! Thanks for this blog, Bob. It’s my favorite thing on the Internet.

  • KariBemidji

    Happy Birthday NewsCut! Reading the posts and comments are a highlight of my day.

  • Congratulations, Bob! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your insight, your experiences, and the accompanying commentary for many of the past 10 years. NewsCut is one of the first sites I visit each and every day. 🙂

    • Guest

      YEP, first place I go to see the news is MPR, then News Cut

  • Bill S.

    NewsCut has been a vital part of my days since just about the beginning. Even though I left Minnesota 7 years ago, that hasn’t changed one bit. Thank you Bob for your hard work finding, curating, and sharing. You’ve done more than your fair share of trying (and more often than not, succeeding!) to elevate civil discourse about important topics and concepts.

  • Jim in RF

    Congrats. The comments about dog years are spot on – 10 years is an eon on the internet. I think I was on CompuServe 10 years ago.

  • Al

    Happy Birthday, NewsCut. Thanks for creating a community that fosters discussion, Bob.

  • Jay Sieling

    Happy anniversary Newscut! an ear worm for the day:

    • Bob Sinclair

      Also well played. 🙂

  • Guest

    I have always enjoyed the tenor of the conversation (little of “those guys are all….) . I thank you for your moderating and choice of topics.

    I would suggest a blog about GOOD news, one we can bounce to when the day is a downer to warm our hearts. You are great at finding sweet stories that restores us.

  • Justin McKinney

    Congratulations on 10 years! I love NewsCut for the thoughtful discussions and the different stories that are shared here. I can honestly say that I have had my perspectives challenged in the best possible way through your stories and discussions with fellow readers and commenters. Here’s to continued success!

  • Guest

    my personal rules for thoughtful discussions:
    A) I don’t use labels, they pretty much mean either “I like” or “I don’t like” and usually fail to inform.

    B) I don’t talk about motives. I barely know my own, much less my wife’s of 30 years and certainly not 1/2 the country.

    C) I speak in reasons for my conclusion, rather than speaking in conclusions.

  • KTFoley

    I’m pretty sure I first posted to an MPR news site that Bob moderated in 2004.

    That was before Disqus, of course, but my reading habit has been ongoing. And yes, there was a reboot somewhere in between. What was it called back then?

    • KTFoley

      Found it — back then it was the News Forum.

  • Cosmos

    Congratulations! I enjoy News Cut and I recommend it to others often.

  • Keith P.

    Thanks for what you do. And this is one of the (very) few places online where I ignore my “For the love of all that’s furry & cute, don’t read the comments!” rule.

  • crystals

    Happy birthday, NewsCut! I stumbled over here a few years back after hearing (and loving) the chemistry & smart conversation between Bob & Mary Lucia at 4:20 on the Current. I’ve never looked back.

  • Ben Chorn


    I remember back in the day starting my mornings with the 5×8

    • Jack Ungerleider

      I miss 5×8 (and the quiz).

  • Mike Worcester

    I’ll add to the chorus of Happy Birthday greetings to News Cut and throw out a challenge — what makes this blog a go-to for its readers/commenters? Some of you touched on this already and I have my thoughts but would be curious to hear what others have to say.

    Fire away if you please.

    • wjc

      1. Posts on interesting things that I often don’t see anywhere else.
      2. Comments that are worth reading, even Gary’s.

      • Jack

        People are civil in their comments. If not, Bob calls them out and takes action.

    • KTFoley

      I’d start with the fact that it’s moderated, and done so by someone with senses of history, humanity & humor.

      • 212944

        Bob has shown that a thoughtful blog with commenting allowed under civil guidelines (and enforced) works.

        Sadly, MPR lacked the money to continue to engage their community through other parts of the MPR site as they cut out commenting/online chatting for other parts of MPR. As has NPR.

        All they have to do is look here, ask Bob for advice and put up some money to invest in themselves to reap rewards. It really is that simple.

        Thanks, Bob, for giving us a reason to visit MPR online daily (many times, several times a day).

        • // and put up some money to invest


          • 212944

            We do.

            But will MPR upper management follow your lead and set up the commenting again. You’ve shown it works.

          • I wouldn’t recommend it, no. MPR never had comments attached to individual stories. Ever. They had the MPR Forum for awhile where people could post comments on whatever they wanted. That was a bit of a cesspool. Personally, I’d rather hire more journalists than moderators.

          • 212944

            Forum was bulletin board-like posts set up show by show, is that what I recall? This was before there was a live public “chat” sort of feed embedded in the show pages, about the time Tom Weber joined Mid-Morning (which may have been when MPR changed the name).

            Never thought it was that bad.

          • No, Forum, run by the great Julia Schrenkler, had subject categories. But the shows didn’t run their category , nor pay any attention to anything that was on it.

          • KTFoley

            Julia Schrenkler is an unsung hero of MPR.

            Peeps, how much would you donate to get Bob to go and sing to her?

  • joetron2030

    Congratulations on ten years of News Cut, Bob! Thanks for all you do for us readers. It’s definitely the page I visit the most of MPR’s and NPR’s pages.

  • Rob

    Good job, Bob!

  • Nato Coles

    Thank you and happy birthday Newscut! It’s usually the first thing I read online each day, including other social media. Here’s to another 10 (if ya feel it)!

  • Randall Thompson

    Oh for goodness’ sakes Bob. This is exactly the kind of “back door forum” that MPR needs. Keep it up.

  • KTN

    Thanks Bob, and congrats on 10 years of NewsCut – always my first go to in the morning.

  • Susan WB

    10 years is a big milestone! Congratulations! Here’s to another trip around the sun with our favorite fearless blogger. Hope you’ll be keeping us company for a while yet – though I suspect you’d be happier to head off into the sunset. Thanks for making a home on the web where adult conversation can thrive.

  • Vince Tuss

    Congrats, Bob. Not only is it one of the few places I post comments, I actually read the comments here, too.

  • Beth-Ann Bloom

    They say the 1st 10 years are the hardest….With them under your belt it’s time to bring back Citizen Spin!

  • Carol S.

    I LOVE Newscut. It’s one of three news sites I visit on a regular basis (and MPR News is NOT one of them), and a frequent topic of discussion around our house. We love the quirky stories, the meaningful stories, the snarky tone that Bob brings to the posts and the way it makes us think about things. I wish every news outlook had such a thoughtful take on the news.

  • Jack Ungerleider

    I’ll repeat what everyone else has said, Thank Bob. (Maybe we can get this to the top of search of “Thanks Bob” 8^)

  • Al Iverson

    Congrats on ten years of NewsCut, Bob!

  • Jodi

    Happy Anniversary, Bob. Your view on things is always a pleasure to read.

  • Jim G

    All the best to the Best Blog… Happy Birthday!

  • AmyO

    Congratulations on ten years, Bob. Thanks for introducing me to stories and ideas I would not have found any where else! Also, this is a site that has made me tear up more than any other…so thanks for that, I guess?

  • Jack

    Congratulations on 10 years. If I may say so, I believe it is the best that MPR has to offer.

  • Yeah, Polinaut (“This is going to kill us”, said the boss at the time whose permission we didn’t ask before creating it. )