By Scott Carlson
Taking nothing for granted
Dear readers, the Bugle is bucking a disturbing trend: Scores of newspapers across the country are drastically cutting back operations or have shutdown.
Within the past few weeks, the Southwest Journal and City Pages in Minneapolis were the latest Twin Cities-area newspapers going out of business.
The Southwest Journal announced in October that its final publication was set for mid-December. Meanwhile, the alternative weekly City Pages pulled the plug on Oct. 28. These papers join the Hastings Star Gazette, Eden Prairie News and the Cottage Grove and Woodbury Bulletins in ceasing business since the start of 2020.
In most of these cases, the scourge of the coronavirus pandemic has played a major role in their demise.
“Like many other community businesses, the Southwest Journal has been impacted by the pandemic,” according to Janis Hall and Terry Gahan, the Journal’s founders and owners. “Our advertising sales are down this year and this latest decline follows a yearslong loss in newspaper revenue. An additional factor in our decision to stop publishing is that we are ready to retire.”
Meanwhile, City Pages—whose heavy focus on arts and entertainment coverage has relied largely on advertising support from bars, restaurants and entertainment businesses—was also smacked by fallout from COVID-19.
“Since City Pages revenue is 100 percent driven by advertisers and events—and those investments have dropped precipitously—there’s no reasonable financial scenario that would enable us to continue operations in the face of this pandemic,” Paul Kasbohm, chief revenue officer of the Star Tribune, City Pages’ corporate owner, said in a statement.
These closings are among more than 60 local newsrooms across the nation that have ceased operations due to the economic impacts from COVID-19, according to a recent report from the Poynter Institute. “Small newsrooms around the country, often more than 100 years old, often the only news source in those places, are closing under the weight of the coronavirus,” the institute noted.
So far, the Bugle, over its more than 40-year history, has escaped this fate, benefitting largely from our nonprofit status.
But that said, we are not immune to economic pressures. In recent years, we have seen a drop in our advertising revenue and increased costs for production and distribution put a squeeze on the Bugle’s bank account.
For the moment, the Bugle is holding its own. But we can never take for granted how quickly circumstances can change.
So, each fall we conduct an annual fundraiser to help support the Bugle. Your donations are vital in keeping the Bugle vibrant and strong.
This year, our fall campaign goal is $45,550; about halfway through the fund drive we have raised $34,115. Thank you to everyone who has already made donations. To those of you who have yet to donate, there is plenty of time to become a Bugle booster.
You can make an online donation at https://www.parkbugle.org/. Or you can mail us a check to Park Bugle, P.O. Box 8126, St. Paul, MN 55108.
Upcoming Bugle deadlines
Here is a reminder of our Bugle deadlines for the next three issues. As always, we appreciate when writers and readers submit their articles early. Aside from breaking news, most articles can be submitted ahead of the scheduled deadlines.
And again, our publication dates represent when the newspapers go out for delivery. Mail distribution of the paper may take up to 10 business days because of recent problems with U.S. Postal Service deliveries. In addition, the mails may be slower because of the holiday that is close to our publication date for our January issue. Meanwhile, bulk drop-offs of the paper around town are completed in three to four days after publication.
|Issue||Copy & Ad Deadlines||Publication|
|January 2021||Dec. 9, 2020||Dec. 22, 2020|
|February 2021||Jan. 13||Jan. 26|
|March 2021||Feb. 10||Feb. 23|