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Sneve, Ellis Leave Argus to Launch Dakota Scout

Joe Sneve and Jonathan Ellis are leaving the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and starting their own news outlet, the Dakota Scout:

Joe Sneve, tweet, 2022.08.15.
Joe Sneve, tweet, 2022.08.15.

A new Twitter feed for Dakota Scout indicates that, starting September 1, Sneve and Ellis will publish print and electronic versions of what they intend to make “South Dakota’s leading alternative, independent, and locally owned newspaper, with a focus on state and local government and politics in Sioux Falls and at the South Dakota Capitol.”

How wonderful—another local news outlet for Kristi Noem to ignore!


  1. Nick Nemec 2022-08-15 08:45

    The Argus Leader death watch continues.

  2. 96Tears 2022-08-15 09:35

    Well, not holding any big expectations from the scribes. I agree with Mr. Nemec. The Argus continues to circle the drain. After one mistake after the other, someone needs to put on their big kid pants and put it out of its misery. It’s getting painful to watch.

    Bob Mercer is the only real reporter left in mainstream news in South Dakota.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-15 10:29

    96, might Sneve and Ellis be able to parlay the connections they’ve built as reporters into an ongoing stream of source information to support a politically focused newspaper that voters will find worth reading? Or is there just too small of an audience to support any news outlet that doesn’t lead with sport and crime of the week?

  4. 96Tears 2022-08-15 11:05

    Good point, Cory. I’ll try to keep an open mind about S&E, but the track record so far has been uninspiring. Maybe the pressures within Gannett or the Argus management (lack of) structure were too restrictive. Political reporting at the Argus hasn’t been the same since Dave Kranz ran the political writing shop and the management was more curious about what was really happening in Pierre and across the state. The EB-5 scandal should have been Pulitzer material for the Argus because it was then the flagship of South Dakota newspapers with resources to dig deeper and more aggressively. I thought David Montgomery’s work was excellent and then it seemed to pull back while other reporters at the Rapid City Journal and Mitchell Republic were picking up the mantle. After that election, Montgomery went to St. Paul and political reporting at the Argus got put into mothballs. That shut down an audience for worthwhile political reporting in South Dakota newspapers. We’ll see how Sneve and Ellis will do in electronic media next to The South Dakota Standard and South Dakota News Watch. There certainly is a mountain of political story ideas out there in this post-Ravnsborg period, especially with Noem’s scandalous behavior and jet-setting.

    So far, Cory, all of them need to catch up with Dakota Free Press.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-15 11:25

    Interesting, 96, that you mention that the Argus’s withdrawal from the field “shut down an audience.” Perhaps vigorous reporting from Sneve and Ellis and build that audience back up.

    I got the sense that after the Thune campaign character-assassinated Dave Kranz in 2004, the Argus pulled back out of fear. Did Gannett/corporate never recover its courage to do hard reporting?

  6. John 2022-08-15 12:12

    Good, but dammit, get a woman or three in the newsroom (not merely in HR or finance) C-suite. Diversity is hard in South Dakota, but worth it.
    Best of luck.

  7. 96Tears 2022-08-15 13:09

    Cory – Gannett has had newspapers that have won awards for investigative reporting in other states, and their Sioux Falls paper has run some investigative pieces on the medical community and other sectors, but has held back on deep reporting on political issues because its advertisers might pull their purse strings. Considering the financial shape of the Sioux Falls paper, it would take years to rebuild a politics readership the Kranz team had. The paper is managed from outside the state and the presses are in Iowa, guaranteeing news of a derecho today won’t grace page 1 until Wednesday’s or Thursday’s paper. You can’t run a newspaper on “breaking news” when folks saw it on KELO or KSFY two or three days ago.

  8. P. Aitch 2022-08-15 13:44 is better. Sniffing out improprieties among the politically elite and towards the politically persecuted of our South Dakota.

  9. grudznick 2022-08-15 20:47

    This should be delightfully entertaining. That Sioux Falls newspaper has shrunk to the point of quality and quantity that it is less of a paper than most weaklies in western South Dakota. And these two fellows are pure partisan hacks who will write stories which will be wonderful to mock and scoff upon.

  10. Sheldon 2022-08-16 06:22

    John, these two have vast experience at the Argus and other newspapers. I am sure they will eventually expand and add other contributors. I am sure they would welcome female writers with open arms, but unless they can find a way to make this cashflow with just the two of them, no need to create a bloated staff to start with. Maybe that is a small part of why the Argus began to fail…

  11. grudznick 2022-08-16 22:14

    Nobody will miss these fellows. They’ll be even more irrelevant than today by tomorrow. And for fellows from that Iowa newspaper that claims to be from Sioux Falls that’s tough to do

  12. Slim 2022-08-22 17:26

    Ellis is a Hillsdale dropout/kicked out.
    He’s very biased toward Noem.
    Not my guy!

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