Steve Grove Tapped to Lead the Star Tribune
Steve Grove starts his new job at the Strib in April, a month after he leaves DEED. Courtesy of the Star Tribune

Steve Grove Tapped to Lead the Star Tribune

He’ll take the position after leading Minnesota’s jobs agency since 2019.

Steve Grove is leaving his post as Minnesota’s economic development czar to lead the state’s newspaper of record.

On Tuesday, the Star Tribune announced that Grove has been appointed CEO and publisher. He replaces longtime publisher Mike Klingensmith, who is retiring.

Though he’s spent the last few years in state government, Grove is no stranger to the news business. A former reporter for The Boston Globe, ABC News, and elsewhere, Grove also served as founding director of the Google News Lab during his 12-year tenure at the internet search giant. The lab’s stated goal has been to “collaborate with journalists to fight misinformation, strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion within news, and support learning and development through digital transformation,” according to Google.

Still, the internet search giant is not viewed as a friend or partner by the news industry. “Every year, Google and other digital platforms pick up a larger percentage of incremental advertising,” Klingensmith told TCB in a wide-ranging interview in November. He labeled Google’s use of news industry content without fair compensation an existential threat and advocated for the Journalism Competition & Preservation Act, which was considered in the last Congress but wasn’t voted on. It would allow the industry to negotiate as a group with the tech platforms.

Grove starts his new job at the Strib in April, a month after he leaves DEED.

In an interview with his new employer, Grove emphasized the importance of digital efforts in the current media landscape. “You have to build a digital-first company if you want to survive in today’s ecosystem,” Grove told the Strib.

His appointment comes at a time of rapid decline in print subscribers for newspapers everywhere. Though digital subscriptions have grown, they haven’t yet been able to match print revenue. In November, Klingensmith noted that each print subscriber generates about $200 more annual profit than a digital subscriber.

Grove is nonetheless bullish on the paper’s digital business.

“While we can be clear-eyed about the challenges that media organizations face today, I think the Star Tribune is well-positioned to meet those challenges,” Grove said in a Tuesday press release. “A strong Star Tribune means a stronger Minnesota.”