The Lake County News Chronicle will publish its final issue May 22, adding to the list of papers across the U.S. shuttering due to economic impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.
With declining subscribers and decreasing advertising revenue, the News Chronicle has struggled financially for many years, Publisher Neal Ronquist said.
"It really is a financial decision," Ronquist said. "We would love to be able to continue to cover that community to the extent that we've been covering it in the past, but financially it just doesn't make any sense any longer."
Founded in 1890 and established under its current name in 1974, the News Chronicle is a weekly newspaper that publishes on Fridays. Its Two Harbors office closed in 2017, and staff relocated to the News Tribune office in Duluth.
As a result of the News Chronicle's closure, a few newsroom positions will be lost within the Duluth Media Group, which also includes the News Tribune, Superior Telegram and (Cloquet) Pine Journal, he said.
The News Chronicle's closure aligns with trends in the media industry that the News Tribune previously reported. Around 33,000 employees of U.S. media companies have lost their jobs, been furloughed or taken pay cuts since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The New York Times.
Since 2008, half of all journalism jobs have disappeared from the American newspaper industry, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.
The News Tribune will continue covering Lake County news that is of interest to its Northland readers, Ronquist said.
"The community's going to lose some of the coverage that it's been used to," he said. "I wish that wasn't the case. But when you don't have the financial support to be able to pay for the consumables that you need, pay for the labor resources that you need to employ — there isn't much of another choice."
Silver Bay Mayor Scott Johnson said it will be a loss to the community as he valued the News Chronicle's coverage, and will rely on Silver Bay's Northshore Journal for news.
"The way it was, it's not a huge impact. But ... we'll have a total loss of local news," Johnson said. As a result, people won't be tuned into what's going on, and many will greatly miss local sports coverage.
The News Chronicle's closure marks the third Forum Communications Co. paper that's closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The News Tribune has also cut its print pages Mondays through Saturdays, while the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead is now offering home delivery five days a week instead of seven.
News Chronicle subscribers can transition their subscription to News Tribune subscriptions at a discounted rate, Ronquist said. A letter with more information about this and refunds will be sent to subscribers next week.
This article was updated at 8:30 p.m. on April 29, 2020 to correct the date of the News Chronicle's founding. It was originally posted at 6:06 p.m.