COMMENTS of the WEEK | Beyond ‘Right on!’ and ‘Drop dead’

Many reader comments in the Daily Planet are of the “Right on!” variety, praising or thanking our writers for their reporting or opinions or both. Almost as many are of the “Drop dead!” variety, wondering how the Planet could have published something so misleading or wrong-headed or both.Both kinds are valuable indicators, but neither leads easily into deeper exploration or further conversation. Alas.A rarer kind of critique offers Planet writers new information that the commenter thinks has been omitted or overlooked — and thus tries to change the perspective or broaden the discussion or steer it in a different direction.To my mind, comments like that are among the most valuable for community journalism. Here are two examples from the week just past:Sheila Regan’s opinion column on June 15, When is a public meeting not public? recounted a “listening session” of St. Continue Reading

COMMENTS of the WEEK | Everybody’s a critic: Lively theater in the Twin Cities

Maybe there was so much partying about to happen that everyone was too busy getting ready: Green Line, Juneteenth, Northern Spark Night, full moon, Friday the 13th. Or maybe mass spring fever had hit, and people were keeping their comments to themselves. Whatever the reason, the flow of comments from Daily Planet readers was kind of weak last week.So I looked for something to comment on myself. How about theater reviews, I thought. After all, reviewing is commenting, so maybe I can comment on some recent reviews. Continue Reading

COMMENTS of the WEEK | Hmong bride price returns

 A surprise and a pleasure in keeping tab on reader comments is how often a comment responds to an article you would have thought was long out-of-date. Last week, for example, Tara Thompson commented on a Planet piece about clothes for winter biking, from Nov. 20, 2012! What do you guess she Googled to that got her that link?But the prize for “late” comments that really aren’t late goes to an article by Talee Vang,  The Truth Behind the Hmong Bride Price. Vang’s piece appeared last October 23. Continue Reading

COMMENTS OF THE WEEK | The fight to keep co-teaching at Lucy Laney

We return this week to issues highlighted at Lucy Craft Laney Elementary School in north Minneapolis. Three weeks ago featured open letter from a Lucey Laney parent pleading for extra funding to expand a co-teaching model that the school initiated in reading/writing and math instruction. Planet reporter Sarah Lahm presented the parent’s plea in a report making clear that budgeting and teacher-assignment procedures leave Lucey Laney with high staff turnover and a concentration of lower-paid, less experienced teachers.On May 9 Lahm wrote a second Lucey Laney story, “Minneapolis principal fights for co-teaching to counter turnover and burnout.” This report too emphasized “the constant turnover of the teaching staff” for this high-poverty low-performing student body and the urgent need to strengthen both faculty stability and student achievement. Co-teaching, said the principal, is an effective, proven strategy to that end.Become a supporting member of the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Most reader comments this time avoided digging into details of co-teaching and whether Minneapolis Public Schools can afford it. Continue Reading

COMMENTS of the WEEK | Part of the global village

If you ever imagined the Twin Cities are not part of the global village, news and opinion in the Planet last week surely dispelled that thought. World and national media were transfixed by the horror of schoolgirls in Nigeria kidnapped for likely sex-trade slavery, and the Igbo Women League of Minnesota published a statement in the Daily Planet, as Minnesotans organized vigils and protests. And in resonance with another developing story, Oromo Minnesotans gave voice to their anger at political violence against students in Ethiopia.The Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, and many thousand Oromo are now Minnesotans. On May 5 Nekessa Opoti drew attention to Peaceful protests in Ethiopia that the Ethiopian military had suppressed, killing at least 11 and perhaps more than 50. Two blog posts by Amy Bergquist reported next on Oromo diaspora mobilizes and ‘Little Oromia’ unites in the Twin Cities. Continue Reading