When I was at the Strib in Minneapolis, Lou Gelfand was the longtime ombudsman. I always read his column, and was constantly surprised that the competing Pioneer Press didn't have a similar one. I loved reading what topics were on readers' minds. Sometimes they made great points, sometimes they just came off as one-issue strait-jacket kuh-razy. I was always glad there was an ombudsman, and doubly and triply glad it wasn't me who had to reason with those angry folks.
Gelfand retired, Kate Parry was the most recent ombudsman (now called "reader rep") and now she is either stepping down/being forced to change jobs, and the Strib isn't filling the position.
Oh, come on! This is 10 times as necessary a role as another Burnsville reporter, especially in this era where our nation is so angrily split that half the Strib readers believe the paper is in thrall to the Democrats, and the other half believe the Republicans and big advertisers control the copy. Bad decision.