On Arthur Hoehn (5×8 – 3/14/11)

The first announcer, the unsung heroes of journalism, the tsunami video, Minnesota lawmakers want to roll back stateworker bennies, and the editing of the anti-NPR video.

Here’s this week’s Monday Morning Rouser


It was rather fitting that Arthur Hoehn died on a Saturday, when few people are paying attention to the news. He wasn’t much for making a fuss about himself. Chris Roberts takes care of that, however, with a fine obituary of the long-time Minnesota Public Radio announcer. As I’ve noted before, I worry that the institutional history of MPR is being lost. As far as I know, nobody’s ever written it down, especially the behind-the-scenes work that went into creating it. There are so many inside stories of how the place came to be.

Arthur was out front, though. He was the first professional announcer hired by MPR, about a year after he worked with the famed Wolfman Jack. Arthur is likely the last connection between Wolfman Jack and Minnesota Public Radio Last fall, he was inducted into the Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Gary Eichten, another Hall of Famer, talked to him last October. I didn’t notice it then, but listening to it now, it sounded like he had just been informed of his cancer.

Arthur Hoehn, Eichten wanted everyone to know, once pitched a no-hitter for MPR’s slow-pitch softball team.


This is a very difficult video to watch, but it proves — again — that the unsung heroes of journalism are photographers and videographers, who put themselves in harm’s way so that you can know the story they’re covering.

The images come from protests in Bahrain. In Libya, an Al Jazeera cameraman was killed in what the news organizsation said was an ambush. The Committee to Protect Journalists said there have been 40 attacks on journalists since the protests began there; six are missing.


Is it possible to be even more awestruck by the video still coming from Japan? Try this:

A six-minute version of that video can be found on Facebook.

Several Minnesotans, stranded in Japan since the earthquake, should be arriving in the Twin Cities this morning.


Minnesota lawmakers will consider lowering the percentage of contributions to pensions of state workers, MPR News is reporting this morning. Another Wisconsin? Not exactly. MPR’s Tim Nelson reports that benefits are determined via the legislative process. In Wisconsin, the issue was different: The lawmakers took away a right to bargain on the issue. But in Minnesota, state workers already contributed a significant share to their retirement plans, unlike Wisconsin.

Should state workers contribute more to their pensions and health care?online surveys

If you’re a state worker, please share what this means to you in dollars and cents. Share your paycheck — anonymously, of course — below.


I’ll be live blogging in the studio during the first hour of Midmorning today. We’ll be talking about the style of journalism that ensnared two executives of NPR last week. Over the weekend, it was revealed just how heavily edited the video was.

Stop back here around 9 this morning and submit your questions and, more important, your analysis.


Minnesota spends more than $65 million a year to house about 600 sex offenders who have been indefinitely committed. About 50 offenders are added to the system every year. How should society deal with sex offenders who have served their prison sentences?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Blogger James O’Keefe’s takedown of NPR is the latest incident in what appears to be a growing battle between conservative news outlets and the mainstream media, and raises questions about the future of news in America. Is partisan news what Americans want, and is it good for our democracy?

Second hour: At 24, Tea Obreht has gained notoriety as one of the best American fiction writers under 40. Born in Yugoslavia, raised in Cyprus and Egypt, Tea’s first novel “The Tiger’s Wife” follows a woman searching for answers through her grandfather’s stories.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard takes questions about journalism at the network in the wake of recent problems there.

Second hour: Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Inequality, a new documentary from American RadioWorks

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBD

Second hour: TBD

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Immigration authorities have identified another large janitorial company in violation of immigration laws. MPR’s Sasha Aslanian says 250 janitors at Harvard Maintenance are losing their jobs. It’s the second large-scale audit of a janitorial company in Minnesota.

MPR’s Tom Robertson will report on people who are being forced to move to Medical Assistance from the General Assistance Medical Care program.

For almost 22 years Ojibwe writer Jim Northrup has entertained and chastened readers of his syndicated Fond Du Lacs Follies newspaper column. He’s covered everything from the rise of casinos and treaty rights, to his love of tapping trees for syrup, and harvesting wild rice. Now the Minnesota Historical Society Press is publishing a collection of Northup’s columns. MPR’s Euan Kerr will have a look.