Former Strib publisher announces new site

An all-star cast and some serious funding: That's what's behind the nonprofit daily news site planned by former Star Tribune editor and publisher Joel Kramer, according to a press release sent out Monday morning to announce the late fall launch of MinnPost.com. The internet-only daily has banked around $1.1 million and has signed on some of the biggest names in Twin Cities journalism to be regular contributors -- including former Star Tribune writers Doug Grow and University of Minnesota J-school professor and Pulitzer winner Chris Ison, former City Pages staffers Mike Mosedale and Beth Hawkins, former Strib editorial writer Steve Berg, and John Camp, who won a 1986 Pulitzer while writing at the Pioneer Press.

The site will publish original news and culture features daily, plus an abbreviated version, MinnPost in Print, that readers can print out at home. "MinnPost.com is all about substantive news for Minnesotans who are intensely interested in the world around them and want more insight and analysis than they're getting from their media choices today," said Kramer. "It will combine the best of traditional journalism with new forms of newsgathering and storytelling made possible by the Internet."

While the site will publish "front-page news stories," it takes its name from what the press release calls "a new format in which professional journalists engage in an informal conversation with readers about what they're learning and what to make of it." These "posts" will "be a bit like blogs, but unlike many blogs, they will be built around original reporting - not just opinions or links to other people's work."

Site funding will come mostly from five parties, four local couples and a foundation. It has received $850,000 in startup funds from Sage and John Cowles, Vicki and David Cox, Laurie and Joel Kramer, and Terry Saario and Lee Lynch, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced it'll kick in $250,000. Kramer says he'll look for additional foundation support in the future.

The site also invites donations from readers, similar to the membership model at Minnesota Public Radio. With a nod to its traditional media roots, the giving categories -- which run from $50 to $5000 or more -- refer to old-school news roles, from Cub Reporter to Media Mogul.

Look for my interview with Joel Kramer later this morning.

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