In the New Zenith inside Post Bulletin editor Jay Furst's head, there was simply "only one reporter to follow for up-to-the-minute coverage" from the floor of the CD1 convention last weekend, his own staffer:
Between 7:55 a.m. Saturday, when [Heather Carlson] tweeted that she was covering the convention, which began at 1:30 p.m., and when she signed off at 2:10 a.m. — when delegates were, in fact, told to vamoose from the hotel — Heather filed 195 tweets, most of them during the balloting process. There may have another Twitter feed that was following the action that closely, but I doubt it.
The Twin Cities papers weren't there. TV wasn't there. If you were interested in what was going on at that convention, you had only one real news source — Twitter — and I like to think only one reporter to follow for up-to-the-minute coverage — Heather Carlson, who's been a P-B reporter for seven years and at the Capitol for three.
Two other reporters, for papers in Mankato and New Ulm, were at the scene and tweeting as well, which made the Twitter coverage that much more interesting.
Before Furst posted this invidious comparison, he ought to have done a little journalism and a bit of addition. Whatever Furst might like to think--and Bluestem lately reviewed how little he thought about the threat neo-nazi Sam Johnson posed--praising his own reporter shouldn't come at the expense of the rest of the press corps.
Since Furst wasn't at the convention, he didn't catch the cameras from Mankato's dual CBS/Fox affilate, KEYC-TV, and reporter Molly Miles interviewing Parry, Quist and CD1 Republican chair Dave Kruse in the early morning as the delegates straggled out, in a clip posted at Apr 22, 2012 2:37 AM CDT.
By Sunday afternoon, Miles had filed another report and clip about the convention (view here).
Carlson did do excellent yeoman's work at the marathon convention, but whatever Furst might think, she wasn't the only one who tweeted heroically.
Had he bothered to look at the competition among Southern Minnesota dailies, he might not have written such self-serving professional puffery. Instead, Furst would have seen that the young New Ulm reporter and 2010 college graduate, Josh Moniz, made over 170 original tweets that night of the action from the floor--and that's not counting his responses to other journalists in the Twin Cities (such as Rachel Stassen-Berger and Tom Scheck) as well retweets and a lengthy recap sequence of sound bites from Friday night's question and answer between Parry and Quist.
Indeed, it's likely that the Journal reporter would have evenly matched Carlson's tweeting numerically had he not--gasp!--stopped and filed a story that night for the New Ulm paper's morning run. Moniz later posted an up date about the adjournment. Unlike the Journal, the Post Bulletin's an afternoon edition.
As for the Mankato Free Press--Mark Fischenich had just launched his twitter account and didn't join much into the fray. However, had Furst bothered to look, he would have seen that like Moniz, Fischenich had filed a lively story that was online--and updated before the break of day. Additional reading would have revealed that Fischenich's colorful original report was the AP's source of the interview with the manager of the Kato Ballroom who feared losing his bosses' liquor license and his job.
Bluestem has been critical of Carlson in the past, but her work last weekend was quite fine. She's not the problem.
The problem's when her editor makes claims for that work--and dinging the competition, without actually taking a look at what they were doing across platforms (Carlson toiled only on one). It's not accurate about her twitter feed being the only one following the action closely--and it's not accurate about online stories. Furst's column is bad journalism, and it's rude.
Shame on Furst for liking to think that this sort of discourtesy to Carlson's colleagues at rival papers would go unnoticed and unremarked (or missing from Nexis's feed, where Bluestem is now archived).
What makes his twitter babbitry even more unseemly? The recognition by the Star Tribune's Hot Dish post of Sunday, Epic convention leaves Republicans without an answer on congressional race, that Moniz had a story up--and linking not to the story, but to his twitter feed:
After a dozen hours, and nearly two dozen ballots, First District Republicans gave neither state Sen. Mike Parry or longtime conservative activist Allen Quist with enough votes to claim victory, according to reports in local newspapers. . .
By all means, those interested in the ongoing drama in the First should follow Carlson's tweets. But they should also follow Moniz's work, the Mankato Free Press, and all the daily newspapers in the First.. Furst might want folks in Rochester and the Twin Cities to think the PB's the only game in Southern Minnesota, but that's far from the facts.