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Twin Cities alt-weekly City Pages closes after 41 years

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City Pages web editor Jay Boller talks with Cathy Wurzer
A City Pages rack sat next to the Star Tribune.
A City Pages rack sat next to the Star Tribune's in downtown St. Paul in May 2015.
Regina McCombs | MPR News 2015

Updated: 4 p.m.

City Pages, an alternative newspaper and cultural belweather for decades, is closing. The Star Tribune announced Wednesday it was ending publication of the City Pages alternative newspaper.

A release from the Star Tribune says this week’s print edition of the alt-weekly would be the last. Editor Emily Cassel said she's grateful for all the readers that have supported City Pages.

The company said that COVID-19 shutdowns had cut into ad revenue and made the freely distributed publication financially unviable and that about 30 people will lose their jobs with the closure.

Cassel said City Pages' finances were actually looking up until the pandemic crippled the music and arts scene that was core to much of the alternative media around the country.

“We're seeing lots of long standing mainstream media organizations falling. And I think what will rise up in their place is a whole different kind of alternative media,” she said.

The paper debuted as a monthly in 1979, then called “Sweet Potato.” It took its current name in 1981 and moved up to weekly publication, known for irreverence, partisanship and sometimes hard-hitting journalism. Its annual “Best Of” issue and “Picked to Click” award proved touchstones of Twin Cities culture.

The 41-year-old City Pages has endured a long term slump in printed media and repeated changes in ownership. The Star Tribune bought the newspaper in 2015.