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Two hedge fund-owned Twin Cities newspapers to close

The two papers cover the Lake Minnetonka and Eden Prairie areas.
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Two west metro newspapers are the latest victims of the coronavirus crisis, announcing their closure as of April 30.

The Eden Prairie News and Lakeshore Weekly News will issue their final editions next week, general manager Laurie Hartmann announced on Thursday.

The newspapers were among the 11 bought earlier this year by Digital First Media, a subsidiary of the notorious hedge fund Alden Global Capital, which also owns the Pioneer Press and is known for enacting significant cuts in newsrooms.

The sale of the newspapers came just before the COVID-19 outbreak, which has sent advertising revenues plunging and resulted in newspaper closures, news room layoffs and furloughs across the country.

"Changes within our communities have always been documented by our news products, and we’ve seen our share of it within the media industry, particularly in recent years," Hartmann wrote. 

"We, too, have experienced a decline in advertising revenue, changes in marketing preferences, and now, the impact on local business, including our newspapers, from COVID-19."

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The other publications under the Southwest News Media umbrella, including weekly newspapers in Chanhassen, Chaska, Shakopee, Jordan, Prior Lake and Savage, will continue.

Since the coronavirus outbreak started, both of the Twin Cities' major newspapers, the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, have embarked on temporary furloughs for staff in order to offset losses as advertising has dried up.

The Pioneer Press' union reached a deal with Alden Global Capital whereby staff take a month of furloughs on a rolling basis in exchange for a commitment that no layoffs would happen before the end of July.

East metro newspapers, the Hastings Star Gazette and The Bulletin of Woodbury and Cottage Grove, also closed earlier this month.

The announcement comes in the same week that a group of members of Congress, including Minnesota's 1st District GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn, called on the federal government to provide financial support to America's local media outlets during the pandemic.

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