The Star-Tribune of Minneapolis is in trouble. It filed for Chapter 11 while I was in town earlier in January. It has been a long road for the paper, itself a combination of several names. “The Star Tribune has its roots in three newspapers whose history is interwoven with the history of Minnesota: the Minneapolis Tribune, the Star and the Minneapolis Journal. During its 140-year history, the Star Tribune has had five owners: King, Washburn and Morrison, W. J. Murphy, the Cowles family, The McClatchy Company and Avista Capital Partners (the current owner),” says the paper’s own version of its history. The Strib is one of the 20 largest circulation papers in the US. Its great rival is the Pioneer Press over the river in St Paul. The two have begun co-operating on distribution; how long before the state loses one of its two major newspapers?
Many US cities have already dropped to become one-paper towns. In the UK this might not sound much – how many of our cities support two full daily newspapers? – but since the US press is mainly regional this is a big deal. Some of the larger cities may be on their way there. See this for a prediction last year. “How Long Will It Take Until We Have the Dallas-Ft. Worth News Star-Telegram?” writes Philip Stone in Followthemedia.com (you can’t click through – requires registration).
Nice piece in the Strib, by the way, on the decline of US newspapers and the social and economic forces behind it, by Llewellyn King. And check out King’s bio: veteran of the Mirror, NY Herald-Tribune, Washington Daily News and Post… King blogs here.