The Pandemic’s Impact on Local News

October 5, 2020

The economic downturn created by the coronavirus pandemic has forced dozens of American newspapers—including several in Minnesota—to close.

That’s the top-line conclusion from a Poynter report on the adverse impact of the pandemic on local news around the United States. At least 50 newspapers in the nation have closed so far this year, accelerating a trend observed since the early 2000s.

According to Poynter’s tally, the following Minnesota newspapers have closed so far in 2020:

  • The Hastings Star Gazette
  • The Bulletin (Woodbury and Cottage Grove)
  • Lake County News Chronicle (Two Harbors)
  • Eden Prairie News
  • Lakeshore Weekly News (Minnetonka)

Several other newspapers, including The Forum, Duluth News Tribune, and Rochester Post Bulletin, have reduced the number of days they print a physical newspaper, while still publishing regularly online.

According to Poynter, about 1,800 newspapers have closed since 2004, most of them weekly papers in small communities. The surviving outlets were already facing extensive financial pressure, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made the situation worse.

University Public Relations closely follows developments in the Minnesota news business. If you have a story you need help communicating to outlets around the state, reach out to your UR contact or to Greater Minnesota media relations consultant Devin Henry at devin@umn.edu.