The State of Minnesota has rescinded its decision to terminate The UpTake’s lease in the Capitol press room. The non-profit news organization’s effort to lease additional space, however, is on hold while the Minnesota Department of Administration undertakes a review of all media lease agreements.
“By people challenging our presence there, honestly, in very questionable and inaccurate ways, they have now allowed the state to review every press organization down there,” says Jason Barnett, the UpTake’s executive director. “We think it’s a problem that the state is able to try and control what kind of press is allowed in the people’s building.”
The decision to terminate The UpTake’s lease was initially handed down after the Rochester Post-Bulletin complained about the citizen-journalism outfit. At issue were some purportedly partisan tweets written by UpTake contributor Erin Maye.
But KARE 11 news director Tom Lindner came to The UpTake’s defense. “I’ve known Mike McIntee for more than 30 years,” Lindner wrote in a letter to the Department of Administration, referencing the outlet’s founder. “I know him to be an honorable man of his word. I find it ironic that in one of the most publicly accessible buildings in our state, some members of the media are concerned about giving access to The UpTake in the press area.”
The UpTake was founded in 2007. Its primary role at the Capitol is providing live, unfiltered feeds of committee hearings, press conferences and other events. The group received nationwide acclaim for its wall-to-wall coverage of the 2008 U.S. Senate recount contest between Al Franken and Norm Coleman.