Skip to main content

The last remaining reporter at the 93-year-old St. Cloud Times newspaper is leaving for a rival being launched by Forum Communications.

Education reporter Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa announced Tuesday that he is joining St. Cloud LIVE on Feb. 1. The new site marks an expansion from Fargo-based Forum, which counts the Rochester Post Bulletin, Brainerd Dispatch, and the Duluth News Tribune among its publications.

Gaafarelkhalifa will be joined by another former St. Cloud Times reporter, Stephanie Dickrell, in launching St. Cloud LIVE, with Forum Comms reporting "additional staff will be added in the coming months."

The outlet will be free to readers and will cover St. Cloud news, weather, sports, and business news. 

It marks yet another blow to the St. Cloud Times, with Gaafarelkhalifa the last remaining name on its newsroom directory.

Axios reported in December that the newspaper has been decimated by layoffs and buyouts imposed nationally by parent company Gannett, and as of early December just three reporters remained – all of which will have left by Feb. 1.

MPR News previously reported that the St. Cloud Times newsroom had 36 employees as recently as 2014.

When asked how it will put out newspapers with zero newsroom staff, a Gannett spokesperson said: "The St. Cloud Times has deep roots in central Minnesota, and we remain committed to providing resources to our newsroom by actively recruiting for editorial positions and relying on our USA TODAY Network to ensure continued coverage."

Announcing the expansion to St. Cloud, Forum Chief Content Office Mary Jo Hotzler said: "St. Cloud, from a geographical standpoint, makes sense. But more than that, we are deeply committed to local journalism and see a need in St. Cloud."

In a tweet, Gaafarelkhalifa said: "It’s expected that there will be no onsite reporters for the St. Cloud Times for at least a little while," adding that he can't speak "independently" on his departure for now.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Protest for Tyre Nichols to be held outside MN Governor’s Mansion

Activists groups say they’ll call on Gov. Tim Walz and the Legislature to implement police reforms.


Minnesota pool contractor banned from industry, must pay $2 million-plus

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed suit against Charles Workman and his company, MN Crete Pools, LLC, in August.

Minneapolis police

St. Paul man identified as victim of north Minneapolis homicide

The shooting occurred on the 2200 block of Emerson Avenue North on Wednesday.


Two youths seriously injured after being struck by driver in Bloomington

Police say the boy is in a critical condition, while the girl has severe injuries.

Rosedale Center

Two men sentenced for carjacking in Rosedale Center parking lot

Leon Kismit Bell, 49, and Jack Mitchell Piche, 23, were sentenced in U.S. District Court on Jan. 20.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

Police identify White Bear Lake officer shot while serving warrant

The officer is a six-year veteran of the department.

abortion, planned parenthood

Minnesota Senate passes bill codifying abortion into state law

Having already passed in the House, it will now be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signing into law.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."


St. Cloud Times

St. Cloud Times writing staff hit by Gannett budget cuts

Mass layoffs were expected at Gannett-owned outlets across the country.

Screen Shot 2019-07-29 at 12.33.30 PM

Forum to launch paywalls on its news websites

The company owns more than 30 newspapers, radio stations and TV stations across 4 states.


Beloved St. Cloud steakhouse to close after almost 50 years

The announcement was met with sadness from patrons.


Gallery: Retro 'Barbie House' bungalow hits the market for $250k in St. Cloud

Bold colors and patterns are paired with retro furnishings in this St. Cloud peculiarity.

Screen Shot 2022-11-14 at 12.17.57 PM

Man shot in stomach after argument in St. Cloud

The victim is in a stable condition.