It’s The End Of The Line

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Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 11.25.17 AMIt’s the end of the line for The Line.

The locally focused online news publication pronounced itself dead today after six years of receiving taxpayer funding to support its otherwise unprofitable new media business model.

Beginning in 2010, the The Line introduced itself as “the web magazine that chronicles creativity in Minneapolis/Saint Paul: creativity in entrepreneurship, design, environmentalism, the arts, retail, urbanism, neighborhood vitalization and revitalization, and wherever else we’re meeting the future of our cities and our region.”

Over the years, The Line received cash paymets in the form of sponsorship from various public-private nonprofit organizations and direct funding from both the City of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

This public money utimately funneled into the private pockets of Brian Boyle, the CEO of Detroit, Michigan based Issue Media Group and parent publisher of The Line.  Others involved in the scheme include editors Jon Spayde and Camille LeFevre.

“We tried to do something for the common good but couldn’t figure out how to sustain it,” Boyle says of the closure, without elaborating on just how much they profited (or lost) at the expense of Minnesota taxpayers.

Comments

  • Peter Beacom

    I would be curious to know their past readership. This is the first I heard of the publication. Although I have my head in the sand and only read Tech.MN & WSJ.

  • http://paulprins.net Paul Prins

    It’s always is a bit sad to see a locally focused publication of any kind close down. Though it sounds like they never found an meaningful revenue source. And skimming their site again it also feels like they never really found a clear vision/focus for their content. So not really surprised.

  • Frank Jaskulke

    Where can I find the information about the direct funding from St. Paul and Minneapolis?

    • http://tech.mn Jeff Pesek

      That’s a good question, Frank, I don’t know?

      Are you surprised to learn that the parties involved have been less than upfront with people about the specifics of their financial and editorial relationship?

      My limited knowledge of the matter stems from an interview when The Line first launched (http://tech.mn/news/2010/06/16/issue-media-group-rolls-through-town-and-hatches-16-the-line/), interactions with Brian Boyle (and former employees), research into Issue Media Group…and there’s verbatim from the obit:

      “Our sponsors have included The City of Minneapolis, OST, The City of St. Paul, The Central Corridor Funders Collaborative, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Growth and Justice, Artspace, Metro Transit and St.Paul Public Schools.”

      If you/anyone does know more, do share!

      • Frank Jaskulke

        I’m not surprised the line hasn’t shared the informarion, they don’t have to.

        An email to public affairs at the city of Minneapolis and St. Paul would get the dollar figures they have put in.

        My partner, Cara, had that job at Hennepin County. She would get media calls all the time asking how much was spent on X. Standard reporter tradecraft :)

        • http://tech.mn Jeff Pesek

          “the line hasn’t shared the informarion, they don’t have to.” agreed, it just comes down to values and the lack of transparency will always speak for itself. sunlight is a wonderfully natural disinfectant.

          • Frank Jaskulke

            True for public entities. I don’t think a private business has a duty to disclose public money.

            And when it is possible to get the information from public sources, all the more so.

            Follow the money :)

  • forthecommongood@charlatan.com

    for the common good is classic charlatanism! neither the common nor the the good is ever definable. use your head minnesota and think about it next time you hear these words.

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