Bad news for Minneapolis: Southwest Journal, the biweekly newspaper that has covered the city's southwestern neighborhoods since 1990, announced Thursday its final issue will arrive December 24.
"It is with heavy hearts that we announce that, like many other community businesses, Southwest Journal has been impacted by the Covid pandemic," write publishers Terry Gahan and Janis Hall, noting that reader donations and dwindling PPP loans have kept the operation afloat. "Our advertising sales are down by over 30 percent this year and this latest decline follows a years-long loss in newspaper revenue."
From the school board to the park board to local elections to small biz and restaurant openings/closings, Southwest Journal delivered its readers valuable reporting, while offering a platform for community voices. Losing the 32,000-circulation paper will be a blow to the local news landscape, which just lost the Growler Magazine in August; the depleted Pioneer Press, despite being at the whims of a vampiric hedge fund owner, keeps chugging along, while the Star Tribune (aka CP's parent company) keeps earning plaudits from industry-watchers. So far, the pandemic has claimed more than 60 U.S. newsrooms, Pew reports.
Two full-time Southwest Journal staffers, Andrew Hazzard and Nate Gotlieb, will be let go at the end of the month. Editor Zac Farber, distribution manager Marlo Johnson, and production artist Val Moe will stick with the company.
This is crushing. It's been a true privilege to work alongside the state's most talented staff of community news reporters — @NateGotlieb, @ATHazzard, @MichelleBruch and so many other brilliant columnists, freelancers, designers and more. https://t.co/Z2STXaEyJ8— Zac Farber (@zacfarber) October 15, 2020
Gahan and Hall have been trying to sell Minnesota Premier Publications, whose news products include Southwest Journal plus Minnesota Good Age and Minnesota Parent magazines, for more than a year. A buyer had been secured in March, they write, but that deal fell through as COVID-19 struck.
Wanna save MPP? Their lawyer, Mark Anfinson, is still fielding "serious inquiries" at firstname.lastname@example.org. (We asked Gahan for the asking price, but didn't immediately hear back.)