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St. Paul Media Story Ideas

The Twin Cities Daily Planet and other local news organizations have asked St. Paul E-Democracy.Org to generate a list of possible stories ideas. What are the most under-reported stories in St. Paul, anything from very local story ideas to city-wide ideas. This list is being generated in October of 2007.

NOTE: This is an interactive list. Please, help us edit, add to, or reorganize this list. Creating this list is an experiment in collaborative editing, your ideas are welcome. If you make a change that other don't like, they can easily "revert" or change things back. So, don't be shy, click on the edit button and help us create a list of stories ideas for local journalists.

Specific Ideas

This is a list of specific ideas. Story ideas on this list offer some level of detail or a specific example. "Coverage of environmental issues" is general (see below) while "coverage of water quality in the Mississippi" is specific.

  1. Palace Theatre in Downtown St. Paul - What is its future, if any?
  2. Paint the Pavement - Neighbors painting intersections with friendly/inviting images. Its happening in the Hamline Midway neighborhood. Why? Is it happening anywhere else? Where did this idea come from? (See Original Post)
  3. Minnesota Personal Protection Act - Its been five years now without the "bloodbath" that some local politicians predicted (i.e. - Ellen Anderson and Wes Skoglund). How do local politicians feel about the act today? Including comments from those who supported the ban from the outset.
    • What does the St. Paul police department have to say about the effects of this law? Not just the department's politically-beholden leadership, mind you...
    • Is there any statistic evidence of the "deterrent" effect that this law would have on crime, as promised by supporters of the law? And why has the media spiked all mention of this effect?
  4. Joseph's Coat - I would like to read – or should I say “interact with”? - a story about the people who go to Joseph’s Coat. Do we not interview them for fear of embarrassing them? How many people go there each week? Why? What are their common issues? Where has “the system” failed them? Are any of them cheating the system? Watch for article in Twin Cities Daily Planet during the first week of December! (See Original Post)
  5. Four Women from Minnesota Boat Club Stroke to Top at Head of the Charles Race - St. Paul's Minnesota Boat Club website: http://www.boatclub.org. Jacqueline Hamilton and 3 others with an average age of 40+ took 1st in their event at the 2007 Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. They beat 20 other teams from around North America. MBC is among Minnesota's longest-lived organizations and the Head of the Charles is North America's top rowing event.
  6. Digital Access - How "connected" is St. Paul? What percentage of St. Paul residents have access to the internet? How does access or lack of access affect the daily lives of people in St. Paul?
  7. SPED Outreach - Who are those happy volunteers working at Rondo Community Outreach library every Monday, offering internet assistance and skills workshops, and what motivate them?
  8. CTEP - What are CTEP volunteers doing in St. Paul???
  9. Affordable housing justice - Reality versus perception regarding negative impacts of rental housing and the importance of increasing housing options to maintain vibrant, safe neighborhoods.
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General Ideas

This is a separate list for general ideas. These are really "categories" of stories that people would like covered. "Coverage of environmental issues" is general, while "coverage of water quality in the Mississippi" is specific (see above).

  1. In depth coverage of all political candidates in terms of values, priorities, philosophies of government, issues, financial backers, votes, and speeches
  2. Coverage of local meeting and the issues, with analysis and charts to make finances and trends more understandable. Especially tax increment finance meetings
  3. Coverage of health care issues, especially cover anyone having denial of coverage just like any ordinary crime news story, this is important
  4. Coverage of enviromental issues, especially locally
  5. Coverage of the state legislature in depth
  6. Coverage of new products that save energy, are sustainable renewable energy or environmentally better
  7. More coverage of protests - I want to know what other people think. We get the corporate view in our marketing and in our corporately owned news
  8. In depth coverage of non-profits, especially how much money is actually used for intended purposes instead of administrative costs, how effective each non-profit is at doing intended purpose
  9. local heroes who instead driving expensive cars and living extravagantly are working for the community, living simply and living green
  10. coverage of all local churches and religious places, so we know how each uses money, interacts with the community and the general philosophy
  11. local businesses who are trying to provide good value and be good community members
  12. diverse unique things like SPIF that not everyone knows about
  13. SPIF'ers as Guest Editorialist - One member of the forum suggested to me (offline) that arrangements be made with a local paper to have use SPIF participants (or even SPIF posts) as guest editorials.
  14. Crime Analysis - I'd like to see the PP take a more comprehensive look at crime in St. Paul. In addition to reporting each day's events as they occur, it would be nice to see some analysis of the crime rate and the patterns involved. Perhaps something like this:
    (See Original Post)
  15. Positive Student Stories - Examples of outstanding student math-letes, science fair winners, history day winners, odyssey of the Mind winners, etc. We give enormous coverage to football, basketball and hockey - how about more coverage of students who win statewide academic contests?
  16. Access to information and transparency in local government.
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Already Written

  1. WSCO Bylaws Changed We all heard about how the board of West Side Citizens' Organization in District 3 was packed last year by special interests taking advantage of an ambiguity in the WSCO Bylaws. The WSCO Board, to its credit, self-corrected this issue in a Special Session mass meeting on Oct. 23, 2007. Voting rights at the election meeting this November are greatly simplified and will now be limited simply to residents and one vote per business establishment. The Twin Cities Daily Planet reported on WSCO: What's up with last minute bylaw changes?

Old/Outdated (??) Ideas

  1. Big Halloween Block Party in Mac Groveland
  2. School Board Campaigns - Who funds school board campaigns? What % of contributions come from teacher unions and other unions that school boards will have to negotiate with? The AP ran a story earlier this year (or last year) about Ed Mn spending more than any other group on lobbying. What's happening in school board campaigns?
 

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