An editor's hello

Share this:
April 3, 2006 // UPDATED 2:06 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

As the new editor of the Downtown Journal and Southwest Journal, I’d like to take a moment to say hello and reflect on the direction of the newspapers.

While the news team that puts out these newspapers has added new faces in recent months and said good-bye to long-time friends, the staff remains one committed to top-notch community journalism.

We strive to stay on top of important issues and decisions impacting the neighborhoods. Beyond news from City Hall and community groups, the newspapers are packed with features and columns spotlighting interesting businesses, personalities and cultural events.

The Southwest Journal will continue to be the best source for local stories that shed light on community trends and highlight your unique neighbors. The Downtown Journal, meanwhile, will continue to focus on the news important to the growing residential community and Downtown workforce.

Beyond residential development trends and government news, the newspaper’s new Downtown Life section will regularly feature unique spaces, restaurateurs, and astute arts and music columns, among other stories. The ever-popular Condo Pipeline is now a part of the newspaper every week, rotating between Condo Vitals, which tracks projects’ sales progress and Condo Watch, which monitors developments as they move through the city-approval process.

Before taking on this editing job, I spent the past three years working as a reporter on a variety of beats. In addition to covering City Hall and Downtown neighborhoods for the Southwest Journal and the Downtown Journal, I’ve worked for The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal and The Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn. I’ve also interned for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Duluth News Tribune and the Star Tribune’s Washington, D.C., bureau. While a University of Minnesota student, I worked for The Minnesota Daily and served as managing editor my senior year.

The news team has a couple of other new faces, too. Reporter Kari VanDerVeen is now tackling the City Hall beat for both publications after spending time covering a variety of other beats for the Southwest Journal, including business, crime and neighborhood issues.

VanDerVeen, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, worked for the campus newspaper The Badger Herald, interned for one of Madison’s two daily newspapers and then worked for the Stillwater Gazette.

Allen Smith, a new photographer, has also joined the newspapers. He has worked as a news photographer for 10 years. His photos have appeared in the Star Tribune and The New York Times, among other publications.

The newcomers join a group of talented journalists who have significant contributions to the newspapers in recent years, including assistant editor Robyn Repya, arts and music editor Michael Metzger, Downtown reporter Jeremy Stratton and arts and schools reporter Anna Pratt. Proofreader Sid Korpi has also been a valuable contributor, reviewing each story with a set of eagle eyes. The newspapers’ creative design team is also stellar and committed to making each issue of the newspapers look great.

We have also been blessed with guidance from former staffers who have recently left the news team, including David Brauer, former editor of the Journals, Scott Russell, a long-time reporter and photographer Rich Ryan. Their contributions to these publications have been a source of inspiration. Brauer has been a true mentor and someone who has passed along invaluable insights about the city and journalism, as has Russell, an award-winning public affairs reporter who consistently went the extra miles with his stories. Ryan, meanwhile, worked tirelessly for the newspapers for several years, documenting the city with his thoughtful photography.

As always, we are eager for feedback and story tips. Please send thoughts my way to