Morning Edition

Former City Pages editors launch new Twin Cities publication

Racket, the digital news publication, launches August 18

A City Pages rack sat next to the Star Tribune.
A City Pages rack sitting next to the Star Tribune's in downtown St. Paul in 2015.
Regina McCombs | MPR News 2015

The much-loved Twin Cities alternative paper City Pages shut down abruptly last fall after its parent company the Star Tribune Media Company said it was no longer financially viable.

Now several former City Pages editors are launching a new digital news publication called Racket that officially launches August 18.

Host Cathy Wurzer spoke with Jay Boller, one of the four staff members at Racket. Boller discussed the need for alternative news sources in Minnesota and the staff’s goals for Racket.

Read highlights from the interview below, and listen to the whole conversation by using the audio player above.

Editor’s note: The quotes have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

On why it’s important to have an alternative publication in the Twin Cities:

We want to fill the void that City Pages left, which we feel is considerable… Bringing that legacy into the future is the mission statement.

There’s a real reader demand for a type of news that doesn’t really fit the boilerplate definitions of what a newspaper sounds like. … It’s to check power balances. It’s to keep institutions on their toes, including other news organizations. And just kind of being that pesky force that is beholden to no one.

On Racket’s funding model:

We’re hoping, praying that there is a demand with people in the Twin Cities market. … Our model will be majority reader-funded. It’s a subscription model. It starts out very cheap, mostly five to 10 dollars a month. … We’re really just hoping readers find the value in that and can support us.  

On Racket’s place in the Minnesota media ecosystem:

I think it’s really exciting to be part of that new wave of digital journalism that breaks away from traditional models. In terms of what we bring, I think that humor is a big element of that. Arts coverage is a huge element of that. We really believe truly that there is enough room for everyone right now.