by Maggie LaMaack
#MSPtweeps is a weekly interview series featuring some of the best and brightest Twin Cities tweeters; the ones who continually make us LOL and OMG!
WCCO’s Jason DeRusha is equal parts reporter, foodie (he has a separate Twitter account for eating!) and man about town. He tweets from @DerushaJ for news, @DeRushaEats for eating, and also serves as a restaurant critic for Minnesota Monthly. Thanks to his Good Question segments and involvement in all things local, Jason was named the twelfth most followed Twin Cities media individual on Twitter last December, a pretty impressive feat considering, well…there are lot of people on Twitter.
Jason joins us this week in #MSPtweeps to talk food, drink and Jason DeRusha Day:
LOL/OMG: We would imagine Twitter has become a useful resource when it comes to choosing your Good Question segments. How has social media changed your job over the last few years?
JD: I get instant feedback from the moment I put my Good Question for the night online. People tell me it is indeed a Good Question, people tell me it’s a dumb question, people suggest better questions. And people help guide me in directions I would have never considered. It’s awesome. I get experts for my stories who come to me because they see me talking about the story I’m working on. I get feedback when I nail a story, and feedback when I fall short.
The biggest change is that I feel like I’m always working. I’m responding to and reading tweets and Facebook messages around the clock. When I started on Twitter, the day after the 35W Bridge collapsed, I only have friends as followers. Now I have more than 19,000 people. I would have never imagined!
LOL/OMG: This year, you were named one of the Business Journal’s 40 under 40. What’s the secret to success in the Twin Cities?
JD: The secret to success in the Twin Cities is immersing yourself in the Twin Cities. I was interviewing Mayor Rybak on WCCO radio a year ago, and he stopped at the beginning to tell the listeners how often we run into each other. I live in the suburbs, but I absolutely love our cities. I’m patronizing the local businesses, I’m fundraising for local charities, and through that you meet a lot of people. Plus, people here want you to be more than just the guy on the news, or the person at the finance firm – they want to see you at the concerts and festivals and art fairs.
LOL/OMG: There seems to be new restaurants popping up all over the city these days. In your eyes, how has local eating and drinking changed over the last decade?
JD: We went from a good not great restaurant scene when I moved here ten years ago, to a vibrant, more risk-taking, exciting restaurant scene. We’ve got food trucks that serve arepas and fine dining chefs who open awesome family-focused restaurants like Brasa. We have under-the-radar places like Corner Table cooking at a caliber that equals the quality in Chicago, and places where you feel like family like The Strip Club in St. Paul. The cocktail scene here is as exciting as in the larger cities, at a fraction of the cost. It’s amazing. I’d eat out every night if my waist-line could handle it.
LOL/OMG: You have a day named after you! What do you do every year to celebrate?
JD: I keep the Jason DeRusha Day proclamation on my desk at work, and every year on Sept. 21 I look at it and think back to how crazy it was when that all happened. It started as a story on How “things” become an official day. That morning I posted the idea on Twitter, and people in my network started making posters and tweeting pictures of them, someone created an online petition, another guy made a JasonDeRushaDay.com website. A couple weeks later, the mayor made it happen. Pretty incredible.
LOL/OMG: Incredible indeed. List time! Give us your top three of each:
Favorite local restaurants:
1. The Strip Club
3. Black Sheep Pizza