Editorial: Local coverage of RNC was no easy feat

Published 8:31 am Friday, September 5, 2008

We hope readers have noticed the excellent coverage the Albert Lea Tribune staff has provided of the Republican National Convention. The Tribune has had a reporter and a photographer in St. Paul for the entire week.

Living in Albert Lea, you might simply say that of course the Tribune covered the convention. It happened right up the freeway. What sort of newspaper wouldn’t cover it? We would agree.

But many outstate Minnesota newspapers didn’t see it that way and simply ran some Associated Press copy and photos or sent a reporter to hover around the outside of the convention for a day. They didn’t have staff-generated photos and stories from inside the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

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To do this, we had to apply for press passes way back in January.

Many other newspapers either failed to think so far in advance or didn’t think being there was all that necessary.

However, we knew all of Minnesota would be watching. Walk through Albert Lea any night this week and you notice TV sets are tuned to the convention coverage. The Republican National Convention is a local story everywhere in Minnesota.

By being at the Xcel Energy Center, the Tribune has provided you with local angles to the convention — such as a story on volunteer security guard Tom Schleck and interviews with 1st District Republicans — and we have provided you with distinct coverage of the political convention not found anywhere else. The Tribune journalists doing the work know Albert Lea well, whereas you can find Associated Press reports nearly anywhere.

We hope readers appreciate the Tribune’s efforts. In our office, we read newspapers from around the region — many of them in bigger southern Minnesota cities — and can tell from looking at them they didn’t dedicate the effort that our little operation did.

Kudos to photographer Brie Cohen, who was stationed there all week, to reporter Sarah Stultz, who worked the first two days, and to reporter Sarah Kirchner, who worked the second two days.