Editor’s note: Bob Collins will get a final word today, his final with MPR News. Before that, however, we tossed a NewsCut keys to a few folks who know a man and a things he’s built.
Here comes Tom Weber, an MPR News contributor and news horde from 2008-2018.
By Tom Weber
When Bob Collins announced final year that currently (his 65th birthday) would be his final day during MPR, he also tweeted he wouldn’t write a farewell post on a blog he created, NewsCut. Classic Bob.
I wish he’s altered his mind and a swan strain is imminent. But only in case, I’ve invited myself to sing a small on interest of a crony who’s finished infinite contributions to MPR and Minnesota.
“It’s exhausting,” Bob told me over lunch final year, to make a blog that “didn’t suck.” That’s one reason to retire! But take a impulse to comprehend how many it didn’t suck: Bob has tweeted recently that these final months of NewsCut have been a blog’s many read. Ever.
I remember daily emails during MPR, ranking stories with a many web traffic. Bob customarily finished mixed appearances in a tip ten. we consider that’s even some-more loyal currently and it’s not a coincidence. That’s since Bob figured out something a rest of broadcasting has been slower to adopt. More on that in a moment.
After realizing he was literally during a tip of his game, Bob substantially could’ve behind his departure. But he’s not. Aside from going out on tip and being exhausted, Meniere’s is a third reason. It’s an middle ear illness that leaves him radically deaf some days.
At a worst, Bob can’t make phone calls – a contingency for journalists. Even in-person interviews offering no pledge he’d be means to hear. Depends on a day. He was doing improved final month though remarkable this week he can’t unequivocally know anyone. The illness also took divided his loyal love: Being a pilot. It’s astray during so many altitudes.
But Bob stays joyful and upbeat, and he’s been shedding an “ornery curmudgeon” persona in new months with any twitter about his new dog and refurbish from Target Field, where he’s an usher. But let’s be clear: The grump thing was never real.
The genuine Bob Collins was — and is — a man who buys baseballs with his possess income before any diversion only to give divided to immature fans. Please, Meniere’s, stay divided from Bob’s ability to mount in a top deck. And please, Twins, let Bob chuck out a initial representation soon.
A oaf wouldn’t caring about MPR’s story adequate to give tours to new employees so they could learn their past.
Where he is ornery is in advocating for correct digital archives. With any new iteration of MPR’s website, some-more of a oldest NewsCut posts and other early MPR website facilities disappear. It’s a predicament on a Internet — archiving a oldest material. Bob’s has been a consistent clarion call, with small to show. Those stories are gone.
But behind to my initial point: Bob’s depart is a vicious connection for my former newsroom colleagues. Journalism, command large, is navigating several areas of tumult. But we trust Bob’s blog, sensitively churning out calm that mostly drew a many trade to MPR’s website, was partial of a answer.
NewsCut has come to occupy a place rather same to a journal columnist. Thoughtful broadcasting though a leisure to chuck an elbow. Yet, many of a time a elbows weren’t opinion – they were only tedious aged truth. However, in a universe where people no longer accept a same facts, law comes off as opinion.
Bob didn’t care. What a grump. And if we didn’t pass a smell test, Bob pronounced that, too. Those were a elbows.
When a phony-but-triggering debate was made over a pointer during Fort Snelling, Bob’s title review “Nothing irks some white people like accurate history.” Just this week, Bob remarkable a high school’s inability to call something extremist when – wait for it – a annual enclosed a print of a tyro in blackface. In any case, Bob smelled something and pronounced so. we consider any post got a lot of readers.
But it’s idle to tag Bob an opinion author and be done. Bob has been navigating new broadcasting improved than many of open radio, that still treats us to stories that heave sound bites from dual sides and finish with a artistic chronicle of “we’ll see what happens.”
Audiences now design reporters to go a subsequent step and tell us when someone is only wrong. Media that still try to separate a disproportion will be left behind, we believe.
Public radio faces several crises. This calm maze is one. It’s tough to censure reporters, given ever-increasing final and quotas to shake out some-more product on some-more platforms. A lot of broadcasting currently is gripping your conduct above H2O and as such, we should pardon stories that can be fast created with decades-old templates.
But a inability to contend in a “fair and neutral” news story that someone is only wrong is what will eventually expostulate divided audiences. It’s not about biases; we all have them. It’s about clarity and how we acknowledge a biases so we can get to work. we see this operative improved during newer media companies like Crooked, that produces a podcast “Pod Save America.”
Pod Save isn’t journalism; it’s left-leaning analysis. But a association did furnish a stellar bit of broadcasting in a podcast called “the Wilderness.” It complicated a ails of a Democratic Party and what Dems have to do to win. It started from a viewpoint that a host, former Obama help Jon Favreau, wants them to win. From there, tangible broadcasting ensued.
I consider Bob was doing some of this all along: Starting from a opposite place than other reporters, afterwards vouchsafing a broadcasting happen. There’s a lot of newsroom fearfulness in what and how to cover that Bob only didn’t have time for. He was forward of broadcasting in decrying phonetic manners to mostly equivocate stating on suicides.
He relentlessly reported about mental health before others held on. And his overarching idea was to tell stories about bland Minnesotans while also saying, bluntly, when they were dealt a crummy hand. From there, good broadcasting ensued. We should be beholden for people who give out baseballs to youngsters and finds ways to mangle by a media noise. Both things are good for Minnesota.
I have no information on a predestine of NewsCut, though Bob has pronounced he thinks it will finish when he leaves. That would be comfortless since NewsCut has been a thing MPR produces that’s closest to a new kind of broadcasting that audiences expect.
Bob also once told me his blog never got any genuine graduation (but still thrived) since a association never unequivocally knew what NewsCut was.
I have an answer: It was partial of a destiny of journalism. And it’s walking out a door.