By: Staff Reports

Group Claims Paper Benefits Financially From Deal

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported yesterday that it is under fire for its support
of a new light-rail project.

The nonprofit Taxpayers League Foundation is running a statewide radio campaign which
claims the newspaper changed its editorial stance on the project after learning that the
line would cross the newspaper’s property. Former Gov. Arne Carlson separately accused the
paper of a conflict of interest.

In its own story, the newspaper denied the charge. ‘Our editorial positions, like our news
coverage, are not driven in any way by our business decisions,’ Frank Parisi, a Star Tribune
senior vice president, told his newspaper. Deputy Editorial Page Editor Jim Boyd added that
the paper changed its stance on the $548 million project because of growing transit problems
in the region and become of changes in the editorial department’s personnel.

Newpaper officials are scheduled to testify before a House committee hearing on Thursday.

Darrell McKigney, president of the Taxpayers League Foundation, said his group tried
unsuccessfully to complain to the Minnesota News Council last year. The radio ads accused the
Star Tribune of opposing light rail until ‘a funny thing happened: Suddenly the government
decided to put one of the main light-rail stations right on Star Tribune property. Now that the
Star Tribune stands to get millions of tax dollars from light rail, they support it.’

The newspaper denies that it will make money off the deal, and says it will lose parking spaces if
the project is completed.

The 11.4-mile light-rail system would run between downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America in


Staff reports

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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