As an assignment for my beat for Journalism 1550,  I was tasked to cover the coverage of the State of the union Address by the Star Tribune out of Minneapolis, Minn. Unfortunately I did not become aware of said assignment until the next morning, so I was unable to analyze the analysis during the speech as I normally would have tried to do. 

The Star Tribune is a regional paper, and thus will not provide the comprehensive coverage that a national news source would provide. So if you are interested in comprehensive political dissection of every word, you are likely better off going to a paper like The Washington Post. That is no slight to the Tribune, though, as their coverage was quite good. 

The coverage that the Tribune posted online was absolutely comprehensive enough to leave most readers satisfied. They posted well crafted articles with a variety of viewpoints on the speech and its surrounding story lines. However, most of their content was borrowed from other news sources, such as the Associated Press, New York Times, and – as can be seen in the byline in the screen shot above – The Washington Post. 

The original content that was posted by the Tribune was good. Notably, their Fact Checker piece was comprehensive and fair. Overall the content was interesting and unbiased. 

I found one of the most interesting stories that was reported around the address was not on the speech at all. Apparently in the hours before the speech, the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta oversaw a mission to rescue two hostages in Somalia. he president can even be seen congratulating Panetta on a job well done as he was making his way up the aisle to the podium. 

Overall, coverage was good. Lifting so many articles from other news sources was probably necessary for a regional newspaper like the Tribune. I give it high marks provide accurate, timely and comprehensive coverage of such an important national event.
To be fair, if I had not been assigned the Star Tribune website for my beat in my journalism class, I would likely never look at it unless there was a major event happening in the Twin Cities area. That being said, I have liked what I have seen so far from the Tribune's website. 
Structurally, the website is very well put together. There is a lot of graphic content which makes the site easy to look at, and the headlines are all large or bolded. The trending stories across the top (where it says "NEWS NOW") is something that a lot of sites are using. The headlines are relatively large, making them easy to read. 

Further down (below where the screenshot ends) there are more links to different multimedia. There is a box for latest videos, and each section has a box with links to its top stories, and there are links to the paper's top columnists and bloggers. Everything has is ordained with a picture making the entire thing easy to deal with as a reader. 

This is really something I love about the site. I absolutely hate it when a website crushes you with text on its homepage. The New York Times does this on their website. All of their front page articles have the first few sentences underneath the headlines and its set up in columns so that the whole thing appears as if they are trying to make it look like the newspaper on line. On top of that all the links to different sections are in small type along the side, rather than in bold and color across the top. The Times site has a bit of an overwhelming feel to it and that is not how it should be. The Star Tribune does a very good job of making site navigation easy. 

The other important part of a news website is obviously content. The folks at the Star Tribune do a very good job in this department. The reporting, as far as I can tell, is thorough and the writing is clear. The focus in the news section is more local than what you would get with a major news website, which is absolutely perfect for the market that the Tribune is appealing to. The readers aren't going to the Tribune to see how the President is handling the opposition over the latest bill, they are looking for news on how the local school board's recent ruling will affect their children. 

The sports section is very large,which is what you expect from a newspaper in a major metropolitan area with competitive teams. 

All in all my first impressions have been very good. I expect to see good things coming out of Minneapolis this semester. 
I am a student at Marquette University. 


    I'm a native Virginian who traveled to Milwaukee to study Journalism in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. 


    May 2012
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