Happy birthday to us! Twin Cities Daily Planet celebrates four years, looks to the future


With a bustling birthday bash Friday evening at T’s Place on Lake Street in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities Daily Planet celebrated the fourth anniversary of its official launch on May 1, 2006. The focus, however, was not on the past but on the future, as executive director Jeremy Iggers, editor Mary Turck, and board chair Sheldon Mains announced recent developments and new plans to expand users’ ability to share the news and connect with their neighbors.

People began gathering at 4:30 p.m., reconnecting with old friends, making new acquaintances, and registering as Daily Planet users. At 6:00, Iggers asked for the group’s attention, thanking staff, board members, and writers before introducing Turck, who demonstrated features recently added to the Daily Planet Web site, including:

• New neighborhood pages, which use new geolocation technology developed by Advantage Labs to help users find neighbors, stories, attractions, and events in every individual neighborhood in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

• Expanded user profiles, which now include links to social networking sites, tagged interests to link users to others who share their interests, and links to articles, blog entries, events, and attractions recommended by each user. (Look for the “Recommend” links at the bottom of these pages to highlight items on your profile.)

• A revitalized Planet Cafe page, with a continuously updated Assignment Desk to help writers get started on stories any time.

• Twitter feeds on many pages, listing tweets relating to a story’s topic.

• An iPhone application, to make reading the Daily Planet on the fly easier than ever. The app also features a link that allows users to immediately send photos or video straight to the inbox of the Daily Planet’s editors.

Taking the mic next, Twin Cities Media Alliance board chair Sheldon Mains reminded the crowd that the Daily Planet is a nonprofit, relying on foundation support and individual donations to cover its operating costs. Mains noted that the Media Alliance (the Daily Planet’s parent organization) has recently been awarded a $75,000 matching grant from the Challenge Fund for Journalism—meaning that every donation to the Daily Planet is effectively doubled.

With that, Iggers led the crowd in a round of “Happy Birthday,” and it was time to cut the cake.

T's Place sign

T's place interior

Jennifer Harshner sitting at table

Volunteer Jennifer Harshner greets guests.

Jeremy Iggers at computer

Jeremy Iggers readies the user-registration table.

Jeremy Iggers and Sheldon Mains at computer

Jeremy Iggers and Sheldon Mains prepare for their presentation.

Projection screen

Jeremy Iggers and Aaron Landry shaking hands

Jeremy Iggers welcomes Aaron Landry.

Caitlin Burgess and Tom Burgess

Daily Planet writer Caitlin Burgess and her father Tom Burgess.

Mike Finley

Mike Finley.

Steve Clemens

Daily Planet blogger Steve Clemens.

Ann Alquist and Justin Elston

Daily Planet community engagement coordinator Ann Alquist with Justin Elston.

Mary Turck and Jerry Clark help Margaret Richards at computer

Mary Turck (left) and Jerry Clark help Margaret Richards register as a Daily Planet user.

Matt Peiken, Ed Kohler, and Aaron Landry talking at bar

Matt Peiken (of Daily Planet media partner 3 Minute Egg), Ed Kohler, and Aaron Landry.

Leola Johnson

Twin Cities Media Alliance board member Leola Johnson, of Macalester College.

Lu Lippold and Heather Walsh, at computer

Lu Lippold surfs the site as Heather Walsh looks on.

Carol Bouska presents cake

Carol Bouska presents the birthday cake.

Howard Kling

Twin Cities Media Allance board member Howard Kling.

Karen Nelson and Gail Thompson

Karen Nelson (left), of the Hennepin Theatre Trust, and Gail Thompson.

Papa John Kolstad

“Papa” John Kolstad.

Mary Turck at microphone

Mary Turck talks about the Daily Planet’s new features.

Allie Micka and Jeremiah Davis

Allie Micka and Jeremiah Davis of Advantage Labs, architects of the Daily Planet’s new features.

Sheldon Mains takes notes

Sheldon Mains takes notes.

Julia Opoti and Sheila Regan

Daily Planet writers Julia Opoti (left) and Sheila Regan.

Busy bar

The thirsty crowd kept the bar staff hopping.

Jeremy Iggers with iPhone

Jeremy Iggers talks about the Daily Planet’s new iPhone app.

Joe Turgeon

Daily Planet web ninja Joe Turgeon.

Nicky Stein-Grohs on her cell phone

Daily Planet reader, and occasional romance columnist, Nicky Stein-Grohs checks in on Foursquare. (No Swarm badge, unfortunately. Maybe next year.)

Dick Saunders taking notes

Dick Saunders.

Conner McCall

Conner McCall.

Dan Nordley at bar

Triangle Park’s Dan Nordley, a co-founder of the Daily Planet.

Sheila Regan and Anna Pratt at patio table

Daily Planet writers Sheila Regan (left) and Anna Pratt.


Kicking back.

colorful shoelaces

Displaying stylish footwear, with Daily Planet writer Karen Hollish.

Relaxing outside

Anna Pratt, Mary Turck, Sheila Regan, and Julia Opoti relax outside.

East Lake Street

East Lake: Street of dreams.