Fostering a great place to work
Yesterday Goff Public won the “Best in Class” award for small companies from Minnesota Business. Considering the hundreds of small businesses nominated, being first is special.
This isn’t a competitive, “We’re number one!” kind of thing. I mean “special” in a grateful way, because I know that very few people have the good fortune of liking their workplace as much as my co-workers and I do.
There are many reasons why I’ve been with Goff Public since 1999, but here are a few of the reasons that mean the most to me.
First and most important, I admire my co-workers. They are the best at what they do, and they continue to work hard and get even better. When each person on the team helps create a culture of excellence, how could I not be inspired? I want to do my best, contribute to our collective knowledge, and help set the high creative and strategic standards that our clients expect from Goff Public.
For several years, I’ve had an anonymous quote taped to my work station: “Your name is your parents’ gift to you. Live up to it.” I hold the Goff Public name in the same high regard: The quality of my work needs to live up to the reputation that Bob Goff started building in 1966 and that my co-workers and I are still cultivating.
Second, I believe the leaders of this company value what I think and what I do. I can go to them anytime with my ideas for how to improve a project or my input on company decisions. I can count on them for regular, honest feedback on my performance. And I know they will be the first people to compliment the Goff Public team when we exceed expectations.
Finally, Goff Public gets the small details right. What employee in downtown Saint Paul wouldn’t love free, nearby parking every day? What employee anywhere wouldn’t love to walk into a home-style kitchen at work and decide what to have for lunch? (And yes, that’s free too.) I appreciate these uncommon benefits that save me time and effort five days a week. Even more important, some of my best conversations with co-workers happen in the kitchen or on the walk to our cars.
I am so appreciative to like where I work and the good people I work with. The culture of excellence, support and care we have at Goff Public is something I wish for others as they find or create their own great place to work.
The Stories Behind the Stories: June 2013
KARE and MPR share reporter
Last month we told you that KARE, WCCO and FOX are sharing a camera crew on the weekend. Now KARE and MPR are sharing a reporter. Trisha Volpe was hired last month by both organizations as an “enterprise reporter.” She will work for both KARE and MPR, depending on the story assignment.
While ultimately this might be a cost-cutting measure, it is also a savvy business move. MPR and KARE have worked together on previous projects including weather and political coverage. If these two organizations continue to strengthen their partnership, their combined demographic appeal and audience would be hard for other media outlets to compete against.
The Villager turns 60
The Villager celebrated its 60th anniversary in May. Over the past six decades, the bimonthly community newspaper has grown to become one of the most influential publications in Saint Paul. While most Twin Cities daily and weekly media outlets have beefed up their online presence, the Villager has decided to stick to print. It has virtually no web presence, but offers free doorstep delivery to 50,000 homes in the Saint Paul Highland Park neighborhood and is not showing any signs of slowing down. Here’s to 60 more successful years of providing an important voice in Saint Paul!
Learn more about the Villager in our Q&A with reporter Jane McClure.
Bring Me The… Podcast?
Last year Tom Barnard – longtime voice of the KQ Morning Show – started a podcast that has become quite popular (nearly 200,000 downloads a month). Starting last week, the Tom Barnard Podcast announced a partnership with Minnesota news aggregator BringMeTheNews. This partnership will add even more local name recognition to the podcast in the form of Rick Kupchella, Don Shelby, and Amy Hockert. The rotating collection of BringMeTheNews contributors will be on Barnard’s podcast each day for 15 minutes to talk about the day’s news.
Podcasts are growing in popularity with a niche audience of busy people who seek out content on their own time. Popular podcasts are even proving to be profitable because advertisers are increasingly moving in that direction.
The rise of sponsored stories
More organizations are paying to have their content posted on the websites of news organizations. BringMeTheNews has been doing sponsored stories for years, and they don’t try to hide it. When an organization pays for a story on BringMeTheNews, it is made very clear that it is sponsored content. Last month Patch readers might have noticed that Patch is also joining the sponsored stories game. A story titled, “Minnesota pastor honors past and present love” was posted to multiple Patch sites throughout Minnesota. The story states openly at the top that it is sponsored by grape-nuts in honor of the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Mount Everest.
We see no problem with sponsored stories as long as readers are aware of them, and they are not disguised as news stories. Hopefully the revenue generated from sponsored stories will be another way to help struggling media outlets stay afloat.
Dallman moves to FOX Sport 1
The Twin Cities has long been known as a market that sends people from local newsrooms to network media opportunities. This is once again proving true. Bill Dallman, the current vice president and news director for KMSP FOX 9, will be the new vice president and news director for FOX Sports 1. This is the new 24-hour sports network FOX is launching later this year to compete with ESPN. Bill will manage “FOX Sports Live,” the news, opinion and highlights show that will air weeknights at 10 p.m. CT.
I was very fortunate to have had the chance to work with Bill in the past. In addition to being someone with great news judgment, he’s also a rabid sports fan. FOX Sports 1 is lucky to have Bill. Congratulations!
Twin Cities media moves
May saw several big moves in the Twin Cities media industry.
- Former KSTP morning show anchor Vineeta Sawkar has landed a job hosting Our Issues Twin Cities, a new community affairs program on the CW Twin Cities. The 30-minute show will air Sundays at 10 a.m. beginning on June 9. The CW (channel 23) is known for syndicated programming, like America’s Next Top Model and Maury. Our Issues Twin Cities will be the station’s first locally produced program.
- WCCO-TV shuffled its morning show line up in May. Jason DeRusha and Jamie Yuccas will anchor the morning show, replacing Angela Davis and Mike Binkley. Davis and Binkley will anchor the Sunday night shows and fill in for other anchors. The “Good Question” segment, which has become a trademark for DeRusha, will go to Heather Brown. This bold move shows that WCCO is trying to increase its morning show viewership, which is third among the four local stations during the 6 a.m. hour. The morning show is the only news segment that WCCO does not lead the rankings.
- Stephanie Gailhard joined the KMSP-TV morning show as a general assignment reporter last week. She has previously worked in Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, and Tampa.
- Congratulations to the Common Man Dan Cole, who celebrated his 20th anniversary with KFAN last month.
“A typical day is pretty much non-existent”
Q & A with Russ Brown, longtime photographer at KSTP-TV
Russ Brown started working at KSTP-TV in 1972. During that time, he’s covered everything from Watergate to the collapse of the 35W bridge. Goff Public recently sat down with Russ to talk about how his job has changed over the past 41 years.
How did you get into television news, what was your first job, and what do you do now?
When I was getting ready for summer after my first year at University of Minnesota Duluth, I was third in line for a work study job at the campus radio station. The advisor recommended me to the folks at WDIO-TV, and my first job was painting the station’s entryway. I am presently a TV news cameraman at KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities.
What is a typical day like, realizing news changes so quickly?
A typical day is pretty much non-existent. The only thing that makes days similar is their differences. I like to say that my day can change three times in the amount of time it takes to walk the 50 feet from the photo table to the assignment desk.
What has been the most memorable story you’ve covered in your career?
There is no single story that stands out for me. Below are some of the highlights.
- Trying to solo interview Vice President Spiro Agnew after Watergate but before it was public
- Shooting second camera for an interview with President Reagan at the Leamington Hotel in Minneapolis
- Covering press conferences with Hubert Humphrey
- Doing one of the last interviews with Vice President Walter Mondale in the White House just feet from the Oval Office as he and President Jimmy Carter tried to negotiate the release of the Iran Hostages
- Flying to Frankfort, Germany, on a moment’s notice in 1985 to cover the release of the Beirut hostages from TWA flight 847
- Spending time in Saudi Arabia while it was still Operation Desert Shield
- Flying home from San Francisco, where I was covering the 1989 earthquake that halted the World Series and collapsed the Nimitz Freeway, and then immediately being one of the first crews to interview Patty Wetterling the day after Jacob was kidnapped
A lot has changed in how news is gathered and shared. What change do you like the most?
The current transition to digital formats and advanced computer editing is wonderful. Old guys like me find it an ironic return to the past. It’s termed non-linear computer video editing but in fact the original non-linear editing was film editing, a skill and craft I miss.
What change do you like the least?
The most honest answer is what I have said for many years: The two worst things that happened to TV news were Watergate and when news started to be profitable. Watergate dawned the era of the “investigative journalist.” It was no longer sufficient to simply be a “reporter.”
When TV news started to become profitable, the bean counters sought ways to maximize their profits. They started bringing in consultants on a regular basis who advised newsroom personnel on how to improve their content. The focus became less on doing stories about the community and more about how to create news that sells better.
How has technology changed what you do and how have you adapted?
We have gone from big film cameras to small film cameras to huge video cameras to big video cameras to all-in-one video cameras to digital recording media to ??????
Has the role or impact of the media changed from your perspective? And if so, how?
Everyone is a “journalist” now, but many don’t realize the awesome responsibility that goes with that title. It’s a bit obtuse, but I think that quite a few citizen journalists aren’t aware of Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes’ oft quoted declaration that “free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting ‘fire’ in a theater.” Words and pictures have power and impact, and too few people seem to understand that.
What’s the best part of your job?
No flippancy intended – it sure beats working for a living!
How has the Twin Cities market changed in terms of what’s covered and where reporters and editors come from?
The ranks of TV management originally came from photographers and reporters with substantial street experience. There has been a slow but steady transition to a producer-based newsroom with managers having little street experience and even less major market street experience. Despite their best intentions, they often fall short of the realities of the street.
What advice do you have to help people be better consumers of media coverage?
This is my plug for KSTP-TV. I’ve worked there for 41 years now and know the Hubbards personally. They care about the community, and this is where their business efforts are. They are also the only locally owned network affiliate in the Twin Cities. Why does this matter? Even if you don’t like them, you know where to complain to the top person. The other stations require a long flight somewhere else. Don’t like what you see? Tell them what and why. They’ll listen.