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A fixture of downtown Minneapolis for five decades, the Journal newspaper calls it quits

November 17, 2018

The Journal, a mainstay for people working, shopping and living in downtown Minneapolis for nearly 50 years, will publish its final issue next month.

Co-owner Terry Gahan cited dwindling advertising revenue and the areas changing demographics as the chief reasons.

Currently published every two weeks, the paper debuted in 1970 as the Skyway News, an ad-packed free weekly with a heavy emphasis on fashion, gossip and new trends. For more than two decades the free publication ran a regular installment that shined the spotlight on a Ms. Skyway; Sen. Amy Klobuchar received the distinction in March 1988 an honor she joked about on a recent episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Co-founders Sam Kaufman and Clinton Andrus were so successful that they eventually starting filling downtown racks with two issues a week and briefly launched a St. Paul edition.

Gahan and his wife, Janis Hall, purchased the paper in 2001 and put out their first issue the day before the 9/11 attacks.

The first thing I thought [then] was, Were done,andthinsp; Gahan said this week, remembering how advertisers pulled out in fear that people would stop frequenting metro shopping hubs. But then we decided to put our heads down and ride it out. We knew that the Target flagship store was coming. We knew about the light rail. We saw downtown Minneapolis converting into a much hipper, much cooler place to be and said, Lets be there when all that stuff happens.andthinsp;Business dried up for about six months, but then it got back to normal.

The paper, later renamed the Downtown Journal, benefitted from the influx of condo units in the central city. Its target readers switched from downtown workers to people moving into the new high rises. The paper also benefitted from such as developments as the Target store that opened on the Nicollet Mall in 2001.

We were really good at capturing the moment when downtown was reaching its full potential, said David Brauer, who served as the Journals editor from 2001-06. That was really fun and really rewarding.

Revenue shrunk when the condo boom went bust and housing units began relying more heavily on younger renters.

When Mrs. Smiths 100-year-old oak tree goes down in a neighborhood of homeowners, people care, Gahan said. But young people living downtown dont care about it because, at some point, theyre going to move on.

In its heyday, the Journal distributed 30,000 copies; these days, the number is closer to 24,000.

Gahan said the closing wont trigger any layoffs. His 12 full-time staffers will continue to work at his familys other publications: the Southwest Journal, Minnesota Good Age and Minnesota Parenting.

Current editor Dylan Thomas is tentatively planning to turn the final Dec. 13 issue into a retrospective. Dont be surprised if Klobuchars Skyway moment makes the cut.

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