Entries Tagged 'Media' ↓

South Dakota’s Top Newspapers Circulation

I had a foot soldier send me this link yesterday, I found it interesting that the smaller cities in SD take more pride in their local newspaper then the larger ones, and their circulation is more in line with the population.

The Argus Leader, Sioux Falls

Circulation Type: Daily
Daily Circulation: 26,720
Sunday Circulation: 44,550

APROX POP: 169,000

Rapid City Journal, Rapid City

Circulation Type: Daily
Daily Circulation: 20,656
Sunday Circulation: 25,856

APROX POP: 71,000

Yankton Press & Dakotan, Yankton

Circulation Type: Daily
Daily Circulation: 7,479

APROX POP: 14,500

Capital Journal, Pierre

Circulation Type: Daily
Daily Circulation: 2,932

APROX POP: 14,000

American News, Aberdeen

Circulation Type: Daily
Daily Circulation: 12,779
Sunday Circulation: 14,397

APROX POP: 27,300

The Plainsman, Huron

Circulation Type: Daily
Daily Circulation: 6,206

APROX POP: 13,000


Circulation Type: Daily
Daily Circulation: 9,336

APROX POP: 22,000

Media General (owner of KELO-TV) evade my inquiry

As you know, way back in December I posted about how the Mayor and his best buddy Jay went to a Green Bay game together;

I was also shown photos of the mayor attending a Greenbay game at Lambeau with the general manager of KELO-TV, Jay Huizenga. I guess it didn’t shock me too much

As you know, by reading the post, Jay said he doesn’t comment on his ‘personal life’. So I decided to ask his employer about his activities. This is the email I sent to Media General (December 30, 2014);

Courtney Guertin,
I have some concerns about one of your properties/news organizations.
KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, SD.
I have been a resident of Sioux Falls since 1991 moving here to attend technical school, I grew up in rural South Dakota and have watched KELO since I have been a child. I also follow state and city politics very keenly. I am very familiar with many local journalists and elected officials.
 Recently I was shown photos (I believe acquired from Facebook) of the General Manager of KELO, Jay Huizenga attending an NFL game at Lambeau field (Greenbay) with the mayor of our city, Mike Huether. There were also photos of the mayor attending the KELO-TV employee Christmas party and announcing at the party that it was ‘Jay Huizenga Day’ in Sioux Falls in celebration of Jay’s birthday.
Mr. Huether is an elected official and acts as a full-time city manager, he is not ceremonial, and acts under a strong mayor form of government and home rule charter. Recently he has been proud of getting a new Events Center in Sioux Falls built, KELO-TV is one of the naming sponsors.
Out of fairness, I asked (emailed) Mr. Huizenga why a GM of a news organization would attend a very public event like an NFL game with an elected official and invite him to the Christmas party. I questioned the journalistic integrity of such decisions.
Jay did respond to my email, telling me, “I don’t comment on my personal life.”
I’m not sure what Media General’s policies are on relationships between journalists/news managers and elected officials, but Jay seems to be implying he is ‘personal’ friends with the mayor, and since he is, it is OKAY to attend these events with him. This kind of relationship concerns me because it puts into question the purpose of the 4th Estate, and it’s duty to perform those duties with the highest ethical standards. I think journalists and news managers should avoid those kind of situations and not encourage them so there is no ‘appearance’ of conflicts of interest.
I thought you should be aware of the situation AND await your prompt response.
Thank You,
Scott L. Ehrisman


Courtney responds to me (January 7, 2015):

I apologize for the delay in responding, I was out of the country. I will look into this with our Operations Mgmt Team.
Best regards,
Courtney Guertin
Director, Marketing & Communications
Media General


I have not heard from them since, I even sent this email (February 11, 2015):

Courtney, do you have any updates about this?

Apparently, Media General condones Jay’s behavior. Now back to scaring old people with weather reports! Carry ON!

GM of KELO-TV says trip with Mayor Huether to NFL game was ‘Personal’


“Hey, thanks for those tickets to the Greenbay game, now for some (softball) questions.”

So last week I was shown some photos of Mayor Huether attending the KELO-TV employee Christmas party doing photo-ops with employees. Maybe he was the keynote speaker or the entertainment for the night. Thank Snowplows my work just sets up banquet tables in the warehouse and feeds us fried chicken for about 45 minutes for our Christmas party.

I was also shown photos of the mayor attending a Greenbay game at Lambeau with the general manager of KELO-TV, Jay Huizenga. I guess it didn’t shock me too much (the Christmas party I find stranger then the game trip).

So I sent this email off to Jay;

Jay, I recently was given a couple of photos of Mayor Huether attending the KELO-TV employee Christmas party and you and him attending an NFL football game in Greenbay. No big deal. What concerns me is that the General Manager of a local news organization is crossing the line of journalistic integrity. I don’t think I have to remind you of the 4th estate, and their duties. Sometimes that means you can’t be friends with certain people. Before I post anything on my blog, I would like to hear an explanation from you.

Thank You, Scott L. Ehrisman


Jay replied;

Thank you for the email.  I have no comment on my personal life.

No Jay, thank you for not answering any of my questions. I did think about sending the mayor an email, but I’m sure his ‘personal’ friend Jay probably already made him aware there are photos of Santa Cheesehead Mayor floating around on the Facebooks. C’mon Mike, didn’t you learn anything from the Lamb Chislic incident?

Though I responded to Jay that ‘I understood’ I really didn’t know what to think, but the more I thought about them, the more it frustrated me that our local news media would be this cozy with an elected official.

Like I said at first, didn’t surprise me. But then I started thinking about all the very (soft) stories this organization has done about the city, especially when it comes to this mayor or the Events Center (remember, KELO is a sponsor), and it started adding up, that the relationship is way too cozy.

First off, I don’t think there is anything wrong with people in the news industry being friends with local elected officials. Hey, if you want to go for a jog together, meet up for drinks, or even have dinner at each other’s homes, I think it is perfectly within reason. I think the more cordial journalists are to elected officials and vice versa, the easier it may be to get a story. I know my cordial relationships with public officials have yielded me many leads and information. But I certainly don’t take them to NFL games, and I am certainly not a full-time, for profit, news organization. I think more importantly I share a common interest in transparency, and integrity in government with these officials. I don’t need to scratch their backs, and they don’t need to scratch mine to get truthful information out there.

What makes this situation different is, who invited who? And who paid for the tickets and travel expenses to the game? This is where it gets complicated, and NO longer ‘personal.’ Someone indicated to me that KELO may have supplied the tickets since that particular game was broadcast on CBS, and the mayor or others in the party paid for travel expenses to make it appear more 50/50. Either way, it’s one thing for an elected official to buy you lunch or even a beer, but a trip to an NFL game? I also find it ironic that a Mayor and an Events Center sponsor would have to travel a couple of states away to ‘entertain’ themselves when they told us we needed to build the Events Center so we can see world class entertainment here instead of traveling. So which is it? Isn’t Stampede Hockey entertaining enough for you guys?

I want to know what you think. Do you agree with Mr. Huizenga that this has to do with his ‘personal life’ only? While (political) business may or may not have been discussed on the trip, it seems this kind of cozy relationship may affect the kind of news we hear about this political figure. AND I think it has. But you know what they say at these media organizations, the sales department never dictates to the news department what to broadcast. So I guess the General Manager never talks to the news department either, you know, similar to the relationship Huether has with the city council.

Though Jay did say the football game trip was personal, he failed to say anything about the Christmas party, which leads me to believe Huether was invited.

Like I mentioned above, I have often felt that this news organization has done light hearted and non-controversial stories about the city, mayor and others (I’m convinced that Thune has a staffer with a desk in their studios), and after seeing and hearing the latest about the relationship they share, I have ZERO confidence in this organization ever doing anything investigative or controversial about Huether, or even giving us the full story.

So much for Doug Lund’s post about how much better KELO is at NEWS then the Argus Leader.

I get angry when people I know in the broadcast news business, who work every bit as hard at their craft and are as dedicated to journalistic excellence as anyone at the Argus.

More like working on craft beers at an NFL game with the mayor. Speaking of the ‘100 Eyed Spaghetti Monster’ I told them about the situation and encouraged them to do a real story about it, instead of just my farting around stuff on my blog. I don’t have much confidence in that happening after reading Whitney’s column on Sunday about the mayor smiling a lot and beating up on Kermit over a wishing well. Stu, was that supposed to be a parody column? You know, parodies are supposed to make people laugh, right? At least you didn’t mention Dan Scott, and well, Janklow is dead anyway.

So much for the 4th Estate in Sioux Falls being the watchdog of local government, more like the lapdog.

I guess it is good to be King, and it only cost a couple of football tickets. I suspect to see another story about evil bloggers after this post gets published. Hey Jay, wanna join me for a Storm game? I’ll even drive, of course we would have to see it in our lousy stadium, be careful not to trip on any of the cracks in the floor and watch out for flying siding.

Monty’s last talking point

I showed up late, but got a chance to say farewell to David, and watch him tie a bow tie. A very talented writer, and more importantly researcher. I have a feeling that David will be writing for the Washington Post someday.

Good Luck.


Who is the Jerk that pulled this AD campaign?


While I found the campaign partially clever, I guess I would not have used that particular phrasing. But this is not the first time a government agency has come up with a silly motto. Remember the Downtown parking motto, Look for the Gold ‘P’? And who can forget Kmart’s “I just shipped my pants.”

I challenge my readers to come up with ‘other’ phrases in the comment section that don’t refer to bodily fluids, poop or masturbating. I don’t think it should be too hard.

What I find troubling though is that $100K of tax money was spent on an ad campaign that won’t even be launched. Does that mean we will get a refund? Or will Lawrence and Schiller do a new campaign at no cost?

As you remember, L & S is famously known for getting No-Bid contracts with the state for marketing campaigns, millions of dollars of them. I also find it ironic that one of the founders of the company, Craig Lawrence, a self admitted ultra conservative and chair of the SD Republican party wouldn’t have a little pull in getting L & S to come up with better ad campaigns that don’t reference masturbating, peeing or pooping your pants.

Talk about getting caught with your pants down, but not behind the wheel of course.

Monty’s out, Whitney is in


As everyone has already heard, David Montgomery is going on to greener pastures. No surprise, this guy has skyrocketed up the ladder of political journalism in our state very quickly. I’m sure when the Argus told him he had to reapply for his job, he said, “Sure” without telling them he would also be applying to several other newspapers, that actually appreciate their employees by not putting them through some convoluted layoff process.

Good Luck David!

PS- I know you liked ‘Touch of Europe’, so may I suggest ‘Moscow on the Hill’ in St. Paul, wonderful borscht and of course the wall of vodka.

But David leaving wasn’t the only big journalist story over at 10th & Minnesota. In some strange decision, management has decided to make their sports writer the city beat reporter. When I first read his column yesterday I thought it was a satire piece. I guess not.

Mr. Whitney hasn’t been shy about having his head up the mayor’s butt when it came to the Events Center, so I suspect we won’t have really much of any investigative reporting when it comes to city hall, but I will be looking forward to reading Stu’s comedy city column twice a week.

And for the record, South DaCola attempted some restructuring, but I was unable to lay myself off. Sorry Mike. It just pays so well, I had to keep at it.

Doug Lund outs Argus reporters that were ‘let go’

Well, I guess Doug is a lot more courageous then I for releasing the names;

I want you to note in particular the lack of any feeling whatsoever by he or his toadies after having just had so many of their long time colleagues like Joel  Brown, Janna Farley, Jon Walker, Peter Harriman, Ron Hoffman, Doreen Weinstein and others  unceremoniously “streamlined” right out the door. But, hell..that’s their business not mine.

I have known the ‘long list’ for awhile, and really didn’t think it was appropriate to rub it in, but I think Lalley over reacts to the post that is chiding him for acting like they provide a better product then the TV news stations.


I don’t really care if you like me or what I say. That’s not why I’m responding here. But I think you should probably have more consideration for the people who are no longer working here. You don’t know the circumstances of each case, and I don’t expect you to, but I would think that if you have the respect for these folks that you suggest perhaps “outing” them isn’t the best idea you ever had.

Actually, the reporters who weren’t ‘re-hired’ (whatever that means) have been speaking to a lot of people about what has happened to them. Heck, a week ago the County Commission recogonized Pete Harriman for his years of service to the Argus.

As for the initial intent of Doug’s post, it’s not that the Argus product is better, it is just completely different. TV will never be a newspaper, and a newspaper will never be TV. Just look at the AL’s attempt at video broadcasting, shows often start late, or not at all, and since they use an outside service to host the videos, they often crash or don’t work properly. I can only recall twice when the KELO website wasn’t working, and it was down for maintenance.

Apples and Oranges, not just in the newsroom or online, but probably how their HR departments handle employment.

Argus Leader announces ‘Changes’

In the Sunday edition of the Argus, they finally made their ‘changes’ public. Well, somewhat.

They announced that they were going to hire some new people and some veterans were ‘leaving’.

While I will commend them for going public with the ‘changes’ that is not quite how it went down. Several reporters who re-applied for their jobs were NOT re-hired. Call it what you want, I call it layoffs. You won’t see anything immediate, but next month you will notice several veteran reporters will no longer be at the paper. I will keep those names to myself, but you will be able to figure it out.

They also re-titled some of the staff and management and are pushing for a bigger digital format. While that is all fine and dandy, I will tell you where the Argus is failing it’s readers and advertisers;

1) Get you freaking website to work. The videos continually crash or don’t work at all. Promised press conferences or shows get canceled or just stop working in the middle of them. If you want to have a larger digital presence, I suggest you learn how to go ‘digital’.

2) Stop charging for the online content. There is a reason why Stormland TV has the #1 news website in the state, they charge their advertisers, not their readers. While I will admit, the journalists at the Argus are of better quality then Stormland, people are really not willing to pay for online news, especially when you can go to different free news sites.

I wish the Argus luck, but I am not holding my breath.

Major SF Media Outlet plans major changes on Monday

I became sad when I heard this today. Sioux Falls is the hub of South Dakota media and when one of the major organizations plans CUTS it sucks.

While I could go into a rant as to the mistakes this organization has made, I won’t. My server may crash.

The sad part is that the administrators and top producers will probably be protected, you know, the ones who decide ‘WHAT’ will be reported and the foot soldiers will be left in the lurches.

I have had great relationships with these reporters, while I wouldn’t consider them close friends, we have helped each other “getting the story” out. I have shared emails, texts and phone conversations with some of the BEST local journalists I have ever met. Great people who have justice on their minds 24/7. A rare breed in a sea of mediocre compared to the ‘other’ news outlets.

It is unfortunate when a news organization decides to get rid of their true talent in the name of advertising dollars or corporate board room decisions.

The first winter storm of this season will occur in a newsroom tomorrow. That’s to bad.

Argus ED Board endorses a ‘NO’ vote on IM 18

Oh the irony of the Argus, in the midst of ‘restructuring’ (which is code for laying people off) screwing their employees out of vacation pay, and consistently dropping subscription numbers (you should see their distribution audit) they recommend voting against a minimum wage increase. Good, nothing like the kiss of death. If I was Weiland I would bed them to endorse Rounds.

If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny.