Business & Economy

Among shrinking news landscape, Southwest News Media announces closure of several Minnesota newspapers

Southwest News Media is ending publication on The Chaska Herald, Chanhassen Villager, Jordan Independent, Shakopee Valley News, Prior Lake American, Savage Pacer and Southwest Saturday

Southwest News Media will stop publishing newspapers at the end of the month. The news organization announced the closures Thursday, saying newspapers across the country are facing revenue challenges.

“The COVID-19 pandemic took a significant toll on newspaper businesses as well, with advertising revenue falling 25 percent to 50 percent,” the media outlet said in the announcement. “Local advertising revenue is the primary revenue source for most weekly newspapers. Hundreds of newspapers across the country have closed or downsized, reduced their publication schedules and made other cost-cutting measures.”

The Chaska Herald, Chanhassen Villager and Jordan Independent will print final editions on April 25, while the last publication for the Shakopee Valley News, Prior Lake American, Savage Pacer and Southwest Saturday will be April 27.

Southwest News Media is also closing sister newspapers in Hutchinson and Litchfield, and it will stop services from the affiliated Crow River Press printing plant.

In 2023, the U.S. lost an average of more than two newspapers each week, according to a report from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

“Over the past year, 131 newspapers in 77 counties were unable to regain their economic footing in a post-pandemic world and disappeared from their communities,” the report read.

Southwest News Media and Crow River Media were acquired in 2020 by Denver-based MediaNews Group, which also owns the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

MediaNews Group is owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, which is known for buying and gutting newsrooms across the country, according to NPR.

The Shakopee Valley News and Chaska Herald have published for more than 160 years, while the Jordan Independent was founded 140 years ago, according to Southwest News Media’s website.