Skip to main content

Newspapers close, staff cut as coronavirus hits the Minnesota media

Two Twin Cities titles are shutting down, while there are cuts at other media outlets.
newspaper

The coronavirus pandemic is having a severe impact on media outlets across the country as advertising income dwindles, and Minnesota is no exception.

As companies struggle to stay afloat amid the ongoing COVID-19 shutdowns, one of the first budgets cut is typically in marketing, having a significant knock-on effect for the newspapers, websites, radio stations and TV news outlets for whom they're vital.

In Minnesota, the sudden onset of the coronavirus has proven too much for some to survive, with the Hastings Star Gazette and The Bulletin of Woodbury and Cottage Grove announcing on Monday they will shut down.

The Star Gazette's last edition will be Tuesday, Apr. 7, with The Bulletin following next month with a final edition on May 6.

Its parent company, RiverTown Multimedia – a division of the Forum Communication Co., said the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded an existing decline in print advertising, prompting the decision.

“The disruption to the advertising revenue of the Hastings Star Gazette and The Bulletin has resulted in these two publications no longer remaining financially viable," publisher Neal Ronquist said.

"Advertising revenue accounts for approximately 70 percent of the revenue our paid newspapers generate."

Another Forum title, the Fargo Forum newspaper, announced last week that it would be cutting its Monday and Friday editions as part of cost-reduction efforts amid the ongoing crisis.

The cuts and closures are coming at a time when it's arguably never been more vital for news consumers be informed of the latest developments regarding the state's response to the pandemic.

In St. Paul, the Pioneer Press' already depleted newsroom could be further impacted, with reporter Nick Woltman tweeting that the newspaper is offering "yet another round of buyouts."

The newspaper's editorial team has been slashed significantly since it was bought by hedge fund Alden Global Capital in 2012, though this time the cuts are being attributed to COVID-19.

It's not just newspapers that are immune either. On Monday it was reported that Tegna Inc., which counts KARE 11 among its TV stations, is implementing a series of furloughs.

Meanwhile Esme Murphy tweeted this week that she has been laid off from WCCO-AM radio due to COVID-19 cost-cutting, though she is continuing her role on WCCO-TV.

Next Up

MissingMankatoWomanSideBySide

Body of missing Mankato woman believed to have been found

A canoer found the body in a swamp near Eagle Lake Friday.

kim crockett facebook sos

MN GOP endorses attorney general, secretary of state candidates

Kim Crockett was endorsed as the party's candidate for secretary of state, while Jim Schultz won the endorsement for attorney general.

FSmb9kkWAB0UBqk

Volunteer firefighter identified as man killed during Thursday storms

The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office confirmed that 63-year-old Ryan Erickson died when a grain bin fell on him.

Juan Ramos, standing outside of his Taco Chon Mexican Grill, in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Firm takes on case defending Taco Chon against Taco John's lawsuit

The local Mexican restaurant is fighting a case presented by Taco John's over naming rights, among other things.

Screen Shot 2022-05-14 at 7.32.27 AM

Worker killed in skid loader accident was 23-year-old apprentice lineman

Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative called the incident "the unthinkable."

Cascade River 1

Raging North Shore rivers overtake bridges, snap trees in half

Pedestrian bridges near the Lutsen Resort have been damaged by the vast river flow.

u.s. attorney's office

St. Paul man sentenced for 2021 robbery spree

Warren Dean, 27, admitted to robbing seven St. Paul businesses in a span of three days.

FSmfYf0WABgrNhI

Stevens County may have been hit the hardest by Thursday storms

The entire county was without power after the storms blew through Thursday evening.

State Patrol

3 killed, 1 critical after trio of crashes in Minnesota Thursday

One person also faces life-threatening injuries in a crash that happened in Olmsted County.

Screen Shot 2022-05-13 at 1.25.08 PM

Mora woman saves pelican caught in fishing line for days

A birthday fishing trip shapes into a heroic tale.

Related

newspaper

Another MN newspaper closing because of coronavirus impact

The Lake County News Chronicle has been publishing since 1890.

Notorious hedge fund buys Minnesota media group and its 11 newspapers

Alden Global Capital has been referred to as a hedge fund "vampire."

newspaper

Two hedge fund-owned Twin Cities newspapers to close

The two papers cover the Lake Minnetonka and Eden Prairie areas.

University of minnesota sign

University of Minnesota could take $300 million hit from coronavirus

University leaders were discussing the challenges they're facing on Tuesday.

Tim Walz

'What we're doing is working': Coronavirus rate a promising sign for MN

Gov. Tim Walz and Jan Malcolm says social distancing efforts are having an effect.

Governor Tim Walz

Coronavirus: Minnesota schools to stay closed for rest of academic year

Distance learning will remain in place until the summer break.

Governor Tim Walz

Coronavirus: Gov. Tim Walz to give afternoon press conference

He is expected to announce an extended Stay at Home order.

PPE, coronavirus, covid-19

Coronavirus: 17 more deaths in Minnesota, cases pass 2,500

The figures are updated as of 4 p.m. Monday, which is the cut-off point for Tuesday's reporting period.