By Arts and Culture Staff
Mike Mullen and Jay Boller, along with other editors, run the publication at City Pages, an alternative weekly publication in the Twin Cities. City Pages has been in Minnesota since 1979 with various owners, but is now owned by Glen Taylor and the Star Tribune.
Mullen and Boller decorate the pages and website of each issue, be it Mullen’s politically provocative columns or Boller’s rock ‘n’ roll coverage.
Listen to City Pages web editor Jay Boller explain his career:
Listen to City Pages news editor Mike Mullen explain his career:
Here are more highlights of what they had to say to Bethel journalism students Feb. 8 in CC325:
M: I don’t expect people to agree, and they don’t.
M: I first left CityPages five years ago because of the boss, he was not a good boss. Turnover was roughly 100 percent. The company at that time was Village Voice Media. If you’ve heard about the recent controversy about Backpage.com – it’s a website where you can find a prostitute and sometimes find a prostitute who’s 15 or 16. That was part of our business model. Backpage was connected to the company and the company was not one I really liked working for.
J: My mom hates the ads. She checks in from time to time asking when they are going to go away and I never have an answer for her.
M: We want people to hate us for the right reasons and not because we’re trash or we’re not professional, or because we picked the wrong enemies.
J: Anytime you print something that’s negative you will get … backlash. Anything short of fawning praise is considered negative criticism in our music scene, which is tough to navigate because some of the best stories are when the critic shows some teeth and digs in.
J: If you are cold-calling an editor, come with really great, really concise ideas.
J: Stay in school.
J: Whenever I talk with freelancers I always tell them whatever idea you pitch me, try to collapse it down into a really compelling or really hooking headline that can appeal to anyone.
J: Who you know is really important and fostering connections in any way you possibly can is huge.
M: If you write about a celebrity they can turn all their fans against you in a matter of seconds.
M: Our readers are liberal, but what’s scary is they’re really well-informed. If I’m saying something, someone who’s reading won’t send you an email saying, “Hey, I think you made a mistake.” Instead, they post on Facebook and say, “This is wrong.”
M: I’m pretty liberal but I want to be logical and not just a bleeding heart.
J: The best way to build up your arsenal as a writer is just to read people who you respect, reading a huge variety of things, and being a student in your free time.
M: I doubt that they care what I say, but if I write it well enough they’ll read it.
–Edited by Abby Petersen and McKenzie Van Loh