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You can have a say in P-B’s coverage

Though I don't mention it often enough, consider this your all-but-eternal invitation to join me and other editors for our morning news huddle, where we run through the list of local news stories, photos and videos available for today and figure out what should go on the front pages of both the Rochester and Austin editions.

That news huddle is at 6 a.m., which I'll assume is the one and only reason we don't get readers leaping at the opportunity to join us in the Post-Bulletin newsroom.

Maybe you have to be an incurable news junkie to get up with the chickens and find news huddles interesting, but I guess that's why I'm in this line of work. In a half-hour's time, we review the news of the day, have some give-and-take on which stories are the most important, which are exclusive to us, and which will get people to pick up the paper.

We put those priorities into the blender, turn it on and out comes a plan for the front page.

Last week, it occurred to me that if the 6 a.m. start is a problem for some of our 100,000 readers, at least we can put our story lists and our front page choices on Postbulletin.com, early enough in the day to be of value.

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So I'm doing that now in my Web log, which like this column is called Furst Draft. You'll find the complete story list that we produce for the meeting, as well as the memo I send companywide by about 7 a.m. that summarizes our plans for the front pages in both Rochester and Austin.

Does this tip our hand to competing media? Not really. Postbulletin.com is always on and always loaded with fresh local news as we produce it. As stories are reported and edited, they move to the Web regardless of when the press starts or when local TV and radio broadcasts occur.

Our mission is to be first in local news, in whatever format you choose to access it -- online, on cell phone or PDA, or in print. By posting our story lists and front page plans online, hopefully you can find the news you're looking for faster, then plan to read it in print or online when it's convenient to you.

That said, you're always welcome to join us at the morning news huddle. Call me at 285-7742 if you'd like to join us.

GARDEN GURU: Nobody knows southeastern Minnesota gardening like Keith Stangler, whose long-nurtured weekly column in the Weekend edition is one of our most popular local features. I know for a fact that Keith gets more mail from readers than just about anyone here, including Mr. Heard on the Street and the Answer Man.

In a word, he's the Jennifer Koski of the gardening set.

Before too much more of summer slips away, we're going to have Keith join us for the next Post-Bulletin Dialogues event at the Rochester Public Library and share some of his gardening wisdom. He'll take your questions and maybe even offer a diagnosis of problem plants that you bring to the library on Monday, July 21.

The program starts at 6:30 p.m. in the library auditorium, and like all of our monthly P-B Dialogues events, it's free, informal, entirely focused on your questions and concerns, and a cheap excuse for good coffee and conversation.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: From rock star and would-be newspaper editor Ted Nugent: "If I were a newspaper editor, I would pursue the truth like a starved, over-tenacious pit bull on flesh ... I would optimize visibility of all the gory details, thereby entrusting the good citizens of America to call their own shots."

Jay Furst is a would-be rock star and the Post-Bulletin’s managing editor. Send comments to furst@postbulletin.com or P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55903.

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