Whenever I want to get the lowdown of what is happening throughout the state of Minnesota and nationally, I go online to Minnesota Public Radio. MPR provides fair and unbiased coverage of Minnesota and national politics, arts, current events and issues. But it is not only what they cover that draws me into the site, it’s how they cover it.

One of MPR's Minnesota in Photos: Every Labor Day weekend, thousands of people come to the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in the tiny northwestern Minnesota town of Rollag. Dozens of antique steam engines are shown that were once used to thresh -- to separate grain from the stalk.

MPR has been at the forefront of new media coverage since the beginning. They have kept up with the new digital age and equipt their website with more than just audio coverage. One example of their extensive coverage is the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. Although it is not a hard news item, 1,776,211 people attended the state fair this year alone, and for those who could not make it, MPR was there.

While on-site, NewsQ hosted a live web cam at their booth so viewers could visit them in person or online and they also had a photo booth where anyone could get their picture taken and then it was put online into a slide show.
Minnesota Public Radio Photo Booth

Every day they would ask questions on air and then post them online so people could respond by commenting online, via twitter, email or calling MPR with the answer. One such question that they had daily was “What are they judging?” Where they would provide audio descriptions of what the judges are looking for and later on that day, the answer.

What are they judging? Description
What are they judging? Clue
What are they judging? Answer

MPR reporters cover a majority of the station’s stories, but they also partner with other news stations and journalists to provide full coverage of the state. Most of the national stories, such as this story on Obama reaffirming aid to poor nations, are either from the Associated Press or MPR’s parent company, National Public Radio.

The only suggestion I would have for MPR online is to increase the video. There used to be a large amount of video coverage, but that has weened over the years, focusing instead on the audio and pictures. Even if it is video like the one posted yesterday, Marriage and the Common Good, which was sent out to Minnesota Catholic parishioners this week to oppose same sex marriages. By posting videos like this online it permits everyone to view the clip and forge their own opinions on the video. Kudos for this one, MPR, but you should try to pick up the pace again with the videos.

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