Minnesota is home to dozens of newspapers, many of which have been published since the 1800s. Growing with the technology age, they have expanded their reporting to online platforms with digital news and social media to promote more efficient and accessible journalism. Here is a list of some of the biggest newspapers in Minnesota, their origins, and current standings.
Owatonna People's Press is a daily newspaper founded in 1874. It prides itself on its local community focused reporting alongside national and global news. The paper features stories that focus on the residents of Owatonna, sports news, public school news, community achievements, and stories surrounding small businesses in the region. In addition to its printed paper, the publication also posts daily breaking news on its online website and has a large social media community on Facebook and Twitter.
The Star Tribune is the most popular and widely recognized publication in Minnesota and all over the United States. It includes extensive coverage, ranging from local, national, and international news to nationwide sports reporting, business insights, lifestyle content, and entertainment news. In addition to this, the paper also has popular weekly sections on restaurants, cooking, travel, and health. The paper has a daily circulation of more than 500,000.
St. Cloud Times is a central hub for everything that is happening in Minnesota. The publication was founded in 1861 and reports on local and breaking news, with a large sports section, climate news, and editorial content. The paper also makes it a point to highlight the outdoor life in Minnesota with climate focused reporting and events around the state.
The Minnesota Daily is the largest student-run newspaper in the United States for the University of Minnesota. While the paper is independent of the University, it receives funding from student service fees with more than 150 employed students. The paper stopped printing and switched to online-only editions after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The Mankato Free Press was established in 1887 and reports on local and state news, sports like American football and hockey, and editorials. In addition to daily news, the paper also publishes Mankato Magazine.
Detroit Lakes Tribune was founded in 1907 as a fusion between two papers. The circulation between its print and online versions reaches over 30,000 readers every week. It publishes local and national news, sports, business, health, and lifestyle. Its online website features various weekly podcast series from Minnesota such as Northland Outdoors, The Vault, and Duluth News Tribune Minute.
The West Central Tribune covers weekly local and national news, sports and outdoors, business, and lifestyle. The publication also features the West Central Tribune Minute podcast in its online website where staff from the Tribune discuss news and sports in Willmar and West Central Tribune. In addition to this, because the paper was founded to support small farmers and laborers, it features articles on progressive farming.
Bloomington Sun-Current covers the cities of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, and Richfield, Minnesota. It covers local news, sports, community events, and daily announcements, and has a circulation of around 28,000. The paper was founded in 1984. The paper was a result of a merger between Richfield and Bloomington Sun Current newspapers.
Post-Bulletin is a Rochester-based daily print newspaper and online news website. Both editions cover local news, sports, community, and lifestyle news, with the edition of breaking news in the online edition. The newspaper also publishes Rochester Magazine monthly, covering arts, entertainment, and Agri-News, which is the largest weekly agricultural paper in the Midwest.
Stevens County Times is a weekly newspaper in Morris. The paper was formed as a joint publication between the Hancock Record and the Morris Sun Tribune but has a history dating back to 1882. The paper covers local news, business, sports, community events, and agriculture. The paper releases a ‘Farm Progress’ report each year discussing the changes in agriculture around west central Minnesota.
Mesabi Tribune was first issued in 1893 as the Virginia Enterprise. The paper merged with Hibbing Daily Tribune in 2020. It covers local news, sports, opinion pieces, and announcements. Its daily news website also features a mine section that reports on the mining, steel, and construction industries around Virginia. The paper also has an e-edition of its printed paper and releases real estate guides each month.
The Crookston Daily Times is a weekly newspaper that covers Crookston and Polk Country with one of the two papers published in the Greater Grand Forks area. The Daily Times includes a digital edition and covers news, sports, and events. The paper was founded in 1891.
The Austin Daily Herald was founded in 1891 by A.B. Hunkins, the inventor of the automatic addressing press. The daily newspaper covers Austin, Minnesota, covering crime, education, and sports, and has released progress reports with the best stories from around the area. The paper also published a monthly living magazine that covers lifestyle content, community events, and human interest stories.
Brainerd Dispatch was established in 1881 and covers news including local, national, and global events, sports coverage, editorials, and lifestyle content. The Brainerd Lakes-based paper also features a Northland outdoors section with articles about Minnesota’s wildlife, outdoor activities, weather, and climate technologies. Like most newspapers today, the paper alternates between print copies and e-editions during the week.
First published in 1873, the Pine City Pioneer is a weekly newspaper and the fourth largest in the state. Published on Thursdays, the paper serves Pine City in Minnesota and covers the latest news, sports, and events. The paper is a part of NorthStar Media which operates various newspapers in the state and has a circulation of 2,500.
Minnesota's identity is complemented by one of the largest media markets in the United States. Despite the rich legacy of printed newspapers, many have seamlessly transitioned to the digital age. Through our exploration of Minnesota's newspapers, we've uncovered their origins, present statuses, and editorial focuses, providing a comprehensive overview of the state's media scene.
Star Tribune is the largest newspaper in Minnesota and is among the largest in the United States. It has a circulation of over 200,000 daily as of 2021. The paper is owned by Glen Taylor who bought the paper in 2014 through the Star Tribune Media Company. Growing with the digital transformation, the Tribune debuted its news website in 1995 which started operating on a paywall subscription basis in 2015.
The paper publishes daily print papers, alongside free breaking news articles on its website and a paid e-edition of its print format. The Tribune has a large multimedia content with various podcasts, video series on YouTube, and a vast social media following.
The Pioneer Press is the oldest newspaper in Minnesota. It was founded in 1849 and is connected to the histories of two other newspapers in the state: The Minnesota Pioneer founded in 1849, and the Saint Paul Dispatch, founded in 1868. The two newspapers were separate morning and evening papers before merging in 1927.
The newspaper is still in circulation today with a daily distribution of around 120,000 (in 2021). Alongside its printed issue, the Pioneer Press publishes daily news and lifestyle content on its website twincities.com which mainly runs on a subscriber-only basis.
Following the United States media regulation where there is a strong emphasis on freedom of the press, Minnesota is bound by certain antitrust laws and cross-ownership limitations that prevent companies from acquiring newspapers and broadcast stations within the same market. Due to the decline of newspapers, The United States introduced the Newspaper Preservation Act in 1970 which exempts newspapers from competition laws. It lets newspapers form a joint operation in the same media market.
While newspapers in Minnesota run on mostly separate operations, a few smaller newspapers had joined agreements in the past where the newspapers' newsrooms were merged to save operational costs.
Newspapers in Minnesota are distributed through categories including independent or local ownership, chain ownership, joint ventures, and nonprofit ownership. The state's largest newspaper, The Star Tribune was owned by the chain media company, McClatchy and Avista Capital Partners before it was acquired by a local businessman, Glen Taylor in 2014. The multimedia company, Forum Communications Company also owns several papers in Minnesota, including Alexandria Echo Press, Detroit Lakes Tribune, Duluth News Tribune, and more.
Like in the majority of US states, large media companies overpower smaller independent owners. Larger companies like Boone Newspapers, Adams Publishing Group, Ogden Newspapers, and Wick Communications own the majority of the newspapers in Minnesota. While there are still independent papers like Swift County Monitor-News and The Ely Echo which are locally owned and operated, these focus on a niche market and are a minority in the state.
The best way to reach out to Minnesota newspapers is through its website’s ‘contact us’ space. Here, the publication typically requests new story leads and press releases. You can also find specific contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses for relevant sections. Beyond this, most newspapers actively post on social media like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, where you can find specific reporters and editors.