The April 30 issue is the final issue of the Eden Prairie News.

I’ve been struggling to come up with a way to communicate how devastated I am that after 46 years, Eden Prairie News will cease to exist.

It’s a sad day for journalism, and for Eden Prairie.

I haven’t been at this paper that long. I took over as the community editor of the Eden Prairie News and the Lakeshore Weekly News (also discontinued) in February 2019, after being hired as a reporter for the Lake Minnetonka area in October 2018. Having grown up in Wayzata, I had a contentious relationship with EP (I mean, you always beat us at sports and whenever I visited I got lost), but I've grown to love this community and the passion and pride it has for the area and its schools (although, I still need to use a GPS to get around).

I want to thank everyone who trusted us to share their experiences so we could write about them. Without you, our sources, we wouldn’t have been able to do our jobs.

Thank you to everyone who reached out with a story idea, gave us feedback on the work we did, sent us photos, wrote columns and penned letters to the editor. The paper would not have been the same without your contributions.

To everyone who read the stories we worked hard to write, thank you. Thanks for looking at the photos we snapped, and for watching the videos we produced. 

Thank you to everyone who voluntarily subscribed to the paper, those who picked up a copy when you passed by a rack, and to the businesses and organizations that bought ads. You helped keep the paper going for as long as it did.

It’s been an honor to work for the Eden Prairie News and share this community’s stories. Every day, I wished we had the staff and time to tell more of them. But I’m proud of the work we did with the resources we had.

I’m sad that I'll no longer be editing and writing for this paper, but I’m heartbroken Eden Prairie has lost a community newspaper, especially at a time like this.

We were present. We went to city and school board meetings. We worked to hold officials accountable. We told happy stories. We told sad stories. We kept readers informed about what was going on in their backyards, at their schools and in their city.

Now, we won’t be there to do those things. We won't be there to inform the public. Yes, some of the other news outlets in the state will swoop in and cover a few of the things that are going on around here as they’ve done in the past, but we were there every day asking questions. That’s gone.

Now, if something happens in Eden Prairie, will people even know about it?

The Eden Prairie News joins a long list of other community newspapers that are no longer being published. Previously, the paper was on the ever-growing list of newspapers that have experienced cutbacks, leaving a small staff that’s doing more work than they can handle in an attempt to properly cover their beats. These papers are suffering due to declining ad revenue and the lack of people willing to pay for news stories that are expensive and time-consuming to produce.

It’s the unfortunate reality of the industry, but we cannot afford to lose any more reporters and local news outlets.

There have been numerous pieces written about what happens when a community loses its local paper — taxes go up, government accountability is diminished, public trust declines, there’s less civic engagement, public officials are less available, and there are fewer original stories (a Duke study found local papers produce 50% of all original news stories, more than any of the other outlets combined) — because there’s no one left paying attention, asking questions and informing the public about what’s going on.

Because of this, I’ll use the final words I will ever write in the Eden Prairie News to ask something of you: support your local news outlets.

Share links to stories on social media. Buy a subscription to the paper (even if you can get the paper for free). If you hit a paywall, don't get annoyed — it’s proof the publication is providing content that’s worth reading, so show some support and finally buy that digital subscription. If you’re a business, buy ads. Do whatever you can to keep the remaining local news outlets in business. We need to hear local stories, now more than ever.

Melissa Turtinen was the community editor of the the Eden Prairie News and the Lakeshore Weekly News. You can contact her at melissa.turtinen@gmail.com

Melissa Turtinen is the community editor for Lakeshore Weekly News and Eden Prairie News. She's passionate about adding context to stories and informing people about what's going on in their community. She enjoys being outside, traveling and good beer.

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