Matthew Von Pinnon
Von Pinnon is editor of The Forum.
- Member for
- 2 years 2 weeks
Access to information is a cornerstone of democracy. The public can't effectively govern itself or make good decisions if it doesn't know what's going on. It's this foundational belief that drives The Forum to seek information that by law is deemed public. Usually, the more sensitive the information, the more we run into obstacles trying to access it. A recent example illustrates this point: On Jan. 7, the Moorhead School District revealed to us that an unnamed number of its varsity hockey players were suspended for one or more games for victimizing a student on Dec.
When I was a boy, I could count on running one errand this time of year. My mother would have me bike down to Walgreens to get her a copy of the annual Ideals Christmas magazine. For those unfamiliar with Ideals, it's a simple but elegant glossy magazine dedicated to beautiful photography, hand-painted art and well-crafted stories, poems and seasonal songs. But what it really did well was sell nostalgia. As a child, I never really understood its allure. It seemed so basic, and yet it was expensive, even 30 years ago. But Mom had to have it every year.
Which is more important: protecting a crime victim from potential public exposure, or protecting the larger public from potential harm? That's the dilemma we faced twice on Friday for two very different stories. The first story involved the reported stranger rape of a teen Thursday night in her West Fargo home. Police said the girl told them a man entered her unlocked home, sexually assaulted her in her basement bedroom and left out the front door, all while her siblings slept and parents were away. West Fargo police said on Friday morning that the suspect was a 6-foot white man with facia
With all the travel associated with Thanksgiving and the holiday season fast approaching, there's been a lot of attention paid lately to the new, more-invasive airport security measures. Be it full-body pat-downs or full-body scanners, it seems more air travelers are starting to really question whether all the hassles associated with trying to keep them safe are really worth all the freedoms lost in the process. There's even an Internet-based campaign that asks air travelers on Wednesday - the busiest flying day of the year - to opt out of full-body scans and instead choose full-body pat-dow
On several instances in recent years, The Forum has fielded complaints from readers and even some fellow journalists upset with us for using or quoting in stories information from Facebook and other social media sites. The material is suspect, they say, because it's hard to know if the person posting comments is really who they say they are. Secondly, it's not an ideal source because the format doesn't readily allow for follow-up questions, often the most important and revealing part of any interview. And third, using social media sites for information-gathering can appear lazy, as it doesn
Early Thursday, a couple hours before the sun rose in Cooperstown, N.D., 16-year-old Cassidy Joy Andel posted a note on her Facebook page: "My time has come, and so I'm gone. To a better place, far beyond. I love you all as you can see.
'Blind justice" has more than one meaning in Minnesota's trial courts. After all, Minnesota is one of 15 states that severely restrict cameras in public courtrooms. Last week, a state Supreme Court advisory committee tasked with studying if cameras should be allowed in the state's trial courtrooms voted 7-6 to further study the matter with an academically based pilot project. The decision was hailed as a breakthrough of sorts, which is comical given that the pilot project could cost $750,000, take two years to complete and will come five years after news organizations first banded together
Because The Forum covers news in both Minnesota and North Dakota, we routinely deal with each state's open records and open meetings laws. Simply stated, North Dakota's transparency laws are much more favorable to its public.
Austin DeCock had his reservations. But like any man who's trying to keep his bride-to-be happy, he went along with fiancée Tara Wang's desire to have their wedding engagement published last Sunday in The Forum and on Inforum.com despite years of mutually difficult lessons to the contrary. And so the Wang-DeCock engagement ran. And some chuckles were had. But Austin and Tara weren't prepared for what came next, affirming - if it was ever needed - that the world enjoys a bit of juvenile humor far more than we'd like to think.
The Forum received a fair amount of criticism last week for our reporting on the death of former Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Mike Unhjem. The complaints took us to task for: Emphasizing some of the reasons for Unhjem's 2009 firing from BCBS and a 2006 DWI in the reporting about his Monday death. Reporting that Unhjem committed suicide. Sourcing the initial suicide information to recently fired local radio talk-show host Scott Hennen rather than police. Putting the story of Unhjem's Monday death on the top of Tuesday's front page. I'll try to explain some of