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Six weekly newspapers in the southwest metro area will cease publication by the end of April, publisher Southwest News Media announced Thursday, and two sister papers in central Minnesota will also end publication.

According to the announcement, the Chaska Herald, Chanhassen Villager and Jordan Independent will publish their final editions on April 25. Three others will cease operation on April 27: the Shakopee Valley News, Prior Lake American and Savage Pacer.

The Hutchinson Leader and Litchfield Independent Review, which are published by Crow River Media, also will shut down by the end of the month.

All the papers are owned by MediaNews Group, a Denver-based company owned by hedge fund Alden Global Capital. Alden is known for laying off journalists and slashing costs at its roughly 200 newspapers, some of which have closed. The St. Paul Pioneer Press is a MediaNews Group paper.

The closings will leave the communities without their long-time local papers. 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.

MediaNews Group purchased Southwest News Media and Crow River Media in February 2020. Months after the purchase, Southwest News Media closed the Eden Prairie News and Lakeshore Weekly News.

The news industry as a whole has struggled over the years, with more and more outlets shrinking or closing. Since 2005, the United States has lost almost two-thirds of its newspaper journalists, or 43,000, according to a 2023 report by the Medill School of Journalism.

In its announcement, Southwest News Media emphasized the drop in ad revenue that many weekly papers have experienced across the country, including a shift to online ads. It said the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll in the weekly newspaper business, leading to ad revenue falling by 25% to 50%.

"Many newspapers throughout the country have been challenged during the past decade or longer by changing lifestyle habits, especially by the dramatic shift in advertising revenue from local print publications to digital options such as Google, Facebook and Amazon," according to the announcement.

Southwest News Media general manager Laurie Hartmann declined to comment Thursday or to say how many employees will be laid off.