Truth Matters.

The Pull: City Pages editors talk entertainment journalism

in Culture Arts & Lifestyle by

By Arts and Culture Staff

Logo_ThePull_HudallaMike 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:

20170208_holmberg_mikeandjay_3
Mike Mullen, news editor for City Pages, talks about his struggles as student in high school and college to journalism students at Bethel University Feb 8. He dropped out of college because he was too busy working for the school paper, The Minnesota Daily. | Photo by CARLO HOLMBERG

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.

Jay Boller, music editor for City Pages, explains his role at City Pages to journalism students at Bethel University, Feb 8. He soon will switch to web and social media editor at the alternative weekly in the Twin Cities. | photo by CARLO HOLMBERG
Jay Boller, music editor for City Pages, explains his role at City Pages to journalism students at Bethel University, Feb 8. He soon will switch to web and social media editor at the alternative weekly in the Twin Cities. | Photo by CARLO HOLMBERG

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

Bethel University journalism students interview City Pages news editor Mike Mullen and music editor Jay Boller Feb 8 at Bethel University. They mentioned they were happy with their current jobs and wouldn’t want to be working anywhere else at this point in their lives. | photo by CARLO HOLMBERG
Journalism students interview City Pages news editor Mike Mullen and web editor Jay Boller Feb 8 at Bethel University. The editors said they were happy with their jobs and wouldn’t want to be working anywhere else at this point in their lives. | photo by CARLO HOLMBERG

2017-2018 Editor In Chief of The Clarion. Most passionate about social and environmental justice, especially in Native American communities. Likes her coffee iced, her books thick and her stories edited. | ajp87848@bethel.edu

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