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Minstrel

My Adventure in Newspapering

1997
Author:

Jim Klobuchar

Minstrel

The inside scoop on a life in journalism by a beloved columnist.

In this memoir Jim Klobuchar, Minnesota’s beloved columnist, tells the stunning story of a life in the newsroom covering politics, sports, and the ordinary people he calls “heroes.”

"Jim Klobuchar is the kind of professional who makes other professionals admire him and envy him in some manner. He is good when he is light-hearted, but he does not have to be light-hearted to be good. If he seems to be having fun when he is writing, it's no doubt because he is having fun. But there is plenty of depth in him." --Abigail Van Buren

"Jim Klobuchar is the kind of professional who makes other professionals admire him and envy him in some manner. He is good when he is light-hearted, but he does not have to be light-hearted to be good. If he seems to be having fun when he is writing, it's no doubt because he is having fun. But there is plenty of depth in him."

Minstrel was first published in 1997.

When he was the first journalist in the country to call the 1960 presidential race in favor of John F. Kennedy, Jim Klobuchar was a scrappy kid from Minnesota’s Iron Range. Minstrel is his memoir, the stunning story of politics, sports, the newsroom, and ordinary people he calls “heroes.”

Klobuchar sees himself as a minstrel, a journalist-adventurer and teller of stories, a witness to his world. The main requirement in that role, he says, is “good peripheral vision and skill at escape.”

Minstrel describes Klobuchar’s upbringing in the ethnic broth of the Iron Range and his start in daily journalism in Bismarck, North Dakota. He explores the personalities he met in politics, athletics, the outdoors, and across Minnesota-from Dear Abby to Fran Tarkenton to Minnesota Fats. Klobuchar recalls the rough-and-tumble first seasons of the Minnesota Vikings and the quirky political world of former Governor Rudy Perpich. Recounting the details of election nights and locker-room fights, Klobuchar writes in the style that won him a loyal audience in thirty years as a columnist.

Klobuchar also writes about the colorful characters inside the newsroom, capturing the everyday flavor of deadlines and deadpan humor. He examines the changing world of journalism and speculates where this will lead in the future. Along the way he holds a mirror to himself, exploring his alcohol dependency and failed marriage.

Minstrel is the engaging story of a journalist’s life, full of adventure and trials, peaceful reflection and thoughtful analysis. From the summit of the Matterhorn to 1,500 feet underground in an iron mine in Ely, Minnesota, Klobuchar lets the reader experience the excitement first hand.

Jim Klobuchar was a daily journalist for forty-three years, thirty as a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He has published fourteen books, including Tarkenton and Heroes Among Us.

excerpt:
“I always thought the early Vikings were closer to a wildlife refuge than a professional football team. It was made up of football orphans and derelicts, and a handful of once-esteemed veterans set adrift by their former employers and a half dozen authentic stars of the future-Francis Tarkenton, Tommy Mason, Rip Hawkins, Ed Sharockman and Grady Alderman.”

Minstrel

Jim Klobuchar was a daily journalist for forty-three years, thirty as a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He has published fourteen books, including Tarkenton and Heroes Among Us.

Minstrel

"Jim Klobuchar is the kind of professional who makes other professionals admire him and envy him in some manner. He is good when he is light-hearted, but he does not have to be light-hearted to be good. If he seems to be having fun when he is writing, it's no doubt because he is having fun. But there is plenty of depth in him."

Call him ‘incomparable’, ‘hilariously incorrigible’ or, sometimes, ‘impossible’, particularly if you are sharing a telephon

but there is no doubt that Jim Klobuchar knows how to write. His is the best of the big-time storytellers. Proof again of his winning way with words is this new memoir in which he tells all or almost all about what fun we had as ‘twin columnists’on the Minneapolis newspapers.” Barbara Flanagan, columnist for the Star Tribune

“Jim Klobuchar says he has good peripheral vision, a necessary gift for journalists, hockey players, and politicians. Minstrel is a report of Minnesota, its life, politics, education, sports, and culture as best seen and reported in Jim’s peripheral view.” Eugene McCarthy, former United States Senator

Minstrel

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

V Start by Electing a President
2/ Echoes of Cool Red Tunnels
3/ Jocks: Making Millions in a Sandbox
4 / The Time They Stonewalled Hubert
5/ The Muppets of the City Room
6/ Walking on Thin Air
7 /Newspapers Fumble for a Soul
8/Minnesota: Lotusland in Icicles
9/ The Mirror Is Not Always Kind
10/ Yiga's Scarf Says Farewell