Minnesota Sampler: Noise from the Depths of Lake Superior

Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Reporter John Myers listened closely when a researcher he knows mentioned something “you probably wouldn’t be interested in.” 

The result is a feature story published this summer in the Duluth News Tribune that’s also the latest installment of Minnesota Sampler, a periodic MNSPJ feature that spotlights great work by journalists across the state.

Myers was interviewing Jay Austin, a scientist at the University of Minnesota-Duluth who has a knack for stumbling into intriguing curiosities.

Austin was the first to look at temperature data from buoys on Lake Superior, and wound up publishing landmark climate research showing a warming trend for the lake’s surface water. His latest pursuit is underwater noise in the big lake that involves the burbot, which Myers described as “a prehistoric fish in the cod family that looks like a cross between a catfish and an eel.”

“I just like doing stories on science, especially now when so many are dumping on science,” Myers said. “It’s fascinating.” 

Myers, 56, has worked at the News Tribune for 30 years. His beat is the environment and natural resources, including extensive coverage of mining issues. 

Myers is prolific, with stories that regularly capture unique aspects of the region – from a barred owl that landed on a Duluth police car, to operations of the Madeline Island ferry. He also pitches in on public safety coverage, including a long feature in February about a couple that froze to death on the deck outside their locked home, despite having keys that could have let them in. 

“I really try to do stuff that other folks haven’t,” Myers said.

You’re Invited: Covering Protests

Hear from veteran journalists, a media attorney, a community organizer and police on how to report on protests, with tips for protecting yourself and your data.

This panel presentation will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, with networking to begin at 6 p.m. Head over to Nicholson Hall, Rm 35, 216 Pillsbury Dr SE, Minneapolis, U of M East Bank.

This is a free event, open to all. Please RSVP at: z.umn.edu/protests.

Panelists include:
• Mark Anfinson, media and First Amendment attorney
• Wintana Melekin, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change
• Corey Schmidt, Minneapolis police spokesperson
• Anthony Souffle, Star Tribune photojournalist
• Doualy Xaykaothao, MPR News reporter
• Moderated by: Lindsey Seavert, KARE 11 reporter

College students: Register for Intern Night

Looking for an internship at a media outlet?

The 2017 Minnesota SPJ Intern Night is a great opportunity to learn about journalism internships throughout the state, network with media professionals and meet fellow journalism students. No previous internship experience is required to attend.

Panelists will include media professionals and intern managers from WCCO, the Star Tribune, the Pioneer Press and other major media outlets. Afterward, tour WCCO studios as time allows.

Thursday, Oct. 19
7 p.m.
90 S. 11th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Register here.

Space is limited at this event: Only 60 spots are available. If you register and cannot attend, you must notify MNSPJ immediately so we can open spots to those who can attend.

Parking is available at metered spots on the street or in nearby parking ramps. Please give yourself time to find a parking spot and arrive on time to the event, resume in hand.

Please contact minnesota.spj@gmail.com with any questions.

MNSPJ wins national Circle of Excellence Award

MNSPJ has been recognized for its many professional development events, including this forum with five winners of the Pulitzer Prize. 

The Society of Professional Journalists has recognized the Minnesota Pro Chapter as one of eight in the nation to win the Circle of Excellence Award.

The Minnesota chapter won the award for its professional development programs.

The chapter presented a number of professional development events for journalists in 2016, including a program with the Star Tribune on trust in news media with five Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. The chapter also hosted a program with journalists from Minnesota Public Radio who developed the award-winning “In the Dark” podcast.

The chapter engaged the legal community with a panel of journalists, lawyers and judges on covering crime and the law. It also partnered with the University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication on an ethics discussion that featured an investigative reporter from Politifact who researches and reports on fake news websites.

The SPJ Circle of Excellence Awards recognize outstanding efforts in the areas of First Amendment/freedom of information, communications, diversity, professional development and campus chapter relations.

MNSPJ joins legal petition in Wetterling case

“The Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has joined a motion to intervene to review public information from files emanating from the Jacob Wetterling abduction case.

MNSPJ, along with other journalism organizations, filed to be part of a larger legal discussion on what records collected in the case may be public and which will remain private. We look forward to discussing these matters with the court and supporting public access, government transparency and First Amendment rights.”

The Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists exists to support the First Amendment rights of all journalists in Minnesota and to promote the sound and ethical practices of journalism. The Minnesota chapter advocates for access to public information for the public at large and dedicates itself to pursuing openness and government transparency.

Contact: Joe Spear, MNSPJ board secretary


MNSPJ annual meeting July 18

The Minnesota Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will have its annual meeting 7 p.m.,  July 18 at The Cardinal Restaurant and Bar, 2920 E. 38th St., Minneapolis. All members are invited to attend.