Kate Parry vs. Alexis McKinnis

So, Kate Parry, the Star Tribune’s “Reader Rep” hammered Vita.mn’s Alexis on the Sexes for her cover story on outdoor sex. There’s been plenty of blog heat regarding the dust-up–both on mnspeak and Minnesota Monitor–and Alexis herself ran a comeback on her Girl Friday blog where she defended the integrity of her poll.

As somebody that writes for a magazine with a broad readership, I understand that it doesn’t take much to offend people in this community. A couple months ago, a mob of angry readers freaked out in the Strib’s letter section about my characterization, in a review of “The Merchant of Venice” for mspmag.com, of the Guthrie’s audience as “wealthy Lutherans.” I didn’t get the rancor at first–I mean, did these people really think I was bigoted by assuming there were wealthy Lutherans at the Guthrie Theater? I mean, we’re in Minnesota. Guthrie tickets are like $60. I went to St. Olaf. It was easy to do the math.

So I guess I’m not shocked that Kate Parry and her readers would be pissed at Alexis’ assumption that Minnesotans fuck like lady bugs. And I’m not shocked that, in turn, everybody in the blogosphere took the opportunity to point out what a non-big deal this was. I’m not going to defend Alexis on the Sexes as a journalist. I mean, Jesus. But here’s why this deal is kind of a big deal:

Because it’s another example of why Kate Parry stinks at her job. Or maybe why Kate Parry stinks at her job and her job stinks too. “Reader’s Rep” is such a joke. There’s already a letters section–why does the Strib need a Reader’s Rep? It would be different if she were an according to Hoyle ombudsman with an independent contract, but she’s a “Reader’s Rep.” They don’t need a television critic, or an architecture critic, or a media critic, so why do they need a Reader’s Rep? If they’re going to be all Six Sigma about everything, don’t you think they should chalk Parry’s position up to redundancy? Because she’s not anything close to a traditional ombudsman. She never takes sides against management. I mean, check out her recent column “Readers apply tough love to newsroom plan.” All it is is a list of pulled quotations from letters that gives off what has to be the false impression that people are split on the paper’s decision to gut its newsroom. It’s not a Brian Lambert post, let’s just say that.

Kate is a management-planted panacea for the Strib reader, whether outraged right winger, indignant feminist or merely cranky senior citizen. In the most critical transition period for the paper in memory, she’s never come close to taking a tough, or even interesting, stance with the higher ups on any issue, instead using her column to attack red herring like Sid Hartman and now Alexis on the Sexes. Her schoolmarm routine is old-fashioned and out-of-touch.


4 Responses

  1. You spelled my last name wrong. :(

  2. So you’re going to make me google you? A real professional journalist would have left the correct spelling in the comments.

  3. I fixed it. You should really consider “McKennis” though. It skews WASPier.

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