The late John Cowles Sr., then-president of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, spent little time discussing what he referred to as the “new plant” in remarks he delivered at dedication ceremonies for the expanded Star Tribune headquarters building in 1949. Instead, Cowles described news and editorial philosophies that still guide us today. He stressed the importance of serving readers with news reporting “without bias or slant or distortion or suppression.” He talked about separating news coverage from our editorial pages, where “we express our opinions and viewpoints as vigorously and persuasively as we know how …”
Cowles mentioned the importance of foreign and national news. “Our primary function, however, is to serve as community and regional newspapers of record for all the people in the Upper Midwest,” he said.
Our mission is fundamentally unchanged today, even though — while the Star Tribune’s geographic footprint in print is focused on Minnesota and western Wisconsin — StarTribune.com readership stretches worldwide.
We found a copy of Cowles’ remarks while packing up for the Star Tribune’s move from its nearly 100-year-old building at 425 Portland Av. S. in downtown Minneapolis to the Capella Tower complex a few blocks away. There’s been a mix of anticipation and nostalgia in the air as employees, many of whom have spent decades in the Portland building, prepare for a new chapter in the company’s history.
The writers and editors who produce these pages will join colleagues from several other departments for the first day of work at Capella on Monday, while the news staff will make the move over the next week. The paper will continue to be printed at our Heritage building in the North Loop.
The renovated “new plant” that Cowles celebrated was nothing like our sleek new home with its adjacent haloed tower. But Cowles would recognize — and no doubt applaud — that the work of the 600 employees who are making the move is rooted in the same commitment to readers, customers and community that he described so many years ago.