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Two newspapers turn to fundraising campaign in southeastern Minnesota

KASSON, Minn. - Two weekly newspapers in southeastern Minnesota have kicked off a “save the newspaper” campaign, asking readers to help them survive in tumultuous times for print media.

The Dodge County Independent of Kasson and its sister publication, the Steele County Times of Blooming Prairie, last week created a GoFundMe website to solicit donations.

“The goal of the campaign is to help make people in the community aware of how important newspapers are, especially in small towns,” Alex Malm, news editor of the Kasson paper, said in an announcement. “Through the campaign the newspaper also hopes to bring to the community’s attention that newspapers are only able to stay open through the advertising support of local businesses and through community members showing their support by subscribing to the paper or picking up copies at newsstands.”

In recent years, newspapers across the country have been losing advertising revenue and circulation has dropped.

Within the past year, two other Dodge County newspapers, the Byron Review and the Star Herald, have closed their doors because they were losing money.

Rick Bussler, publisher of the Times and Independent, said he has cut eight positions at the two newspapers in the last year and a half because revenue has plummeted.

“We are currently barebones and are quite frankly in danger of becoming extinct,” he said.

The Times’ Blooming Prairie office has been put up for sale to generate revenue needed to keep printing the paper.

“The Times and Independent hope to be able to continue doing what they have been doing for over 125 years, which is providing the most local news available,” Bussler said. “Without additional community support, we may not be able to do it any longer.”