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City Pages, Minneapolis’ Alternative Weekly Paper, Ceased Production Today

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The paper spoke truth to power, and delivered it to readers weekly for free

A gilded background with a woman dressed in a shimmery gold dress, holding a fan
The 2013 cover of City Pages “Best of” issue
City Pages [Official]

City Pages, a source of independent news for 41 years in Minneapolis will cease publication immediately in print and online according to Star Tribune Media. The paper was acquired by company that also publishes Minneapolis’ daily newspaper, the Star Tribune, in 2015. The company said it would offer City Pages’ 30 employees severance, along with the chance to apply for open jobs at the Star Tribune.

Perhaps best known for publishing truth-to-power stories and in-depth coverage of the local music scene, City Pages also had robust food coverage, emerging early as one of the few papers locally who knew how to harness blogging and daily, short-form restaurant reporting to generate excitement about the Minneapolis food scene. Its annual “Best Of” issue would collect not only the usual Best New Restaurants, but also more obscure, fun-to-read Best Ofs like Best Place to Break Up and Best Bathroom Graffiti (the women’s room at The Turf, naturally.)

City Pages’ impressive array of food critics and journalists included the James Beard Award-winning Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, whose weekly, must-read reviews focussed on businesses that might have otherwise flown under the radar of traditional media. Other writers included Rachel Hutton, Mecca Bos, and Sarah Bumble. Bloggers for the publication included James Norton, who went on to create Heavy Table, and edit at The Growler, another publication that ended its run this year.

City Pages began in 1979 as Sweet Potato, a publication dedicated to the Minneapolis music scene. In 1981, the paper adopted the name City Pages to directly compete with the Twin Cities Reader. In 1980 both were purchased by Village Voice Media. At that time, The Reader was shut down, and City Pages became the dominant alternative news source in the city.

In a note to employees today, Star Tribune Media chief executive Mike Klingensmith wrote, “While City Pages has retained a strong brand in our market, the profound disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it economically unviable.”

Editor-in-chief Em Cassel, who rose to the rank after writing about food for the paper, tweeted, “it’s true, CP is done. i’m gutted, obviously. i love my friends and coworkers more than anything. i’m so proud of us and the work we’ve done.”

Fittingly, the final cover is a bent fork with a defiant middle finger on a red background.

A silver fork with its tines pulled back to look like a middle finger on a red background. The cover story is called, “Kitchen Nightmare,” and says, “COVID cases are surging, so why would anyone open a restaurant right now?”
The final issue of City Pages
Em Cassel/Twitter

Disclosure: the author wrote for City Pages from 2010-2014