By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Alden Global Capital to close eight weekly papers in Minnesota

The hedge fund Alden Global Capital, notorious for hollowing out its newspapers, is shutting down eight weekly newspapers in Minnesota. Louis Krauss of the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune reports that six of the papers are part of the Southwest News Media group and two are under the auspices of Crow River Media.

“The closings will leave the communities without their long-time local papers,” Krauss writes. “Two of the papers, the Shakopee Valley News and Chaska Herald, have been published for more than 160 years, while the Jordan Independent was founded 140 years ago.”

Alden owns 68 dailies and more than 300 weekly publications through its MediaNews Group as well as another seven larger-market dailies through Tribune Publishing. Tribune recently sold The Baltimore Sun to David Smith, the head of Sinclair Broadcasting; Smith’s first act was to meet with his staff and berate them. Alden also owns New York’s Daily News but for some reason has separated it from its Tribune holdings. In Massachusetts, Alden owns the Boston Herald, The Sun of Lowell and the Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg.

A number of startup projects that Ellen Clegg and I wrote about in “What Works for Community News” were founded by people who quit an Alden-owned paper rather than continue to put up with round after round of cuts. Examples include relatively large outlets like The Colorado Sun and small projects like The Mendocino Voice and Santa Cruz Local.

Now it looks like some opportunities are about to open up in Minnesota for entrepreneurial-minded journalists.

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  1. David R Beard

    Am glad that Steve Grove (a former freelancer for the Boston Globe’s long-departed City Weekly section) is trying to bulk up Minnesota journalism out of the Twin Cities, but there’s only so much he can do.

    • Dan Kennedy

      As we report in “What Works in Community News,” Minnesota is a pretty rich news environment these days, with the resurgent Star Tribune, the longtime nonprofit MinnPost and startups like Sahan Journal. And if the Minneapolis suburbs are anything like Boston’s, Alden’s latest outrage will lead to a number of local startups.

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