About two years ago, I was approached by the Star Tribune and asked if I would be interested in participating in a new online experiment they were trying, called Your Voices. The Your Voices section would feature bloggers from across Minnesota writing about their experiences and provide a different perspective and added content to the Star Tribune's digital site.
As you are probably aware, the news industry is continuing to go through a series of changes as it attempts to reinvent itself to deal with the decline of print and the rise of online.
I have been a blogger for many years, and had been working on my own site, politics.mn, and had some very good success at finding an audience for it. Still, the opportunity to showcase my content on a site with the reach of the Star Tribune was appealing, so I was excited to begin this new experiment.
The contract I had with the Star Tribune allowed me to write about any topic I wished, and for the most part, that was politics. My first post was about Tom Emmer, who was running for Congress in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District. My final posts were from an interview this week with Governor Mark Dayton.
Then, through a quirk of fate, I began reporting on the case of two missing girls from Lakeville, Samantha and Gianna Rucki, which happened to exist at the intersection of politics and public interest. Michelle MacDonald, who was an attorney involved in the case was a candidate for MN Supreme Court in 2014, and I had covered that race.
The contacts I had made in the political world ended up being very helpful in generating leads on the Rucki case. Eventually, the girls were found and reunited with their father. The work I did on the Rucki case was the most personally satisfying work I have done in my life.
I am incredibly grateful that I was able to participate in this experiment, but like all experiments it has to come to an end at some point.
I have a profound sense of appreciation and loyalty for the Star Tribune, as they were willing to attach themselves to my name when others wouldn't. It was an amazing opportunity, I learned a lot, and I believe I made the most of it. The staff at the Star Tribune are a tremendously talented group, and they produce a quality news product everyday.
I would like to specifically thank Terry Sauer, Christy DeSmith, Pat Lopez, and Baird Helgeson for their guidance and assistance.
Over the last two years, I wrote over 200 posts for the Star Tribune. Thank you to those who read my posts and left a thoughtful comment of praise, or critique.
There are many stories still to tell and I look forward to sharing them with you all.