Volunteer journalists fill gap after Eden Prairie local news paper shut down

After the Eden Prairie newspaper’s run of 46 years came to an end in 2020, a group of journalists decided something needed to be done to keep voters in the south-metro informed.

Now, ahead of the Nov. election, they’ve released their work by sending voter guides to 26,000 Eden Prairie homes. The guides provide a closer at each candidate running for school board, city council and mayor.

"It was a substantial project in terms of time and effort and cost," volunteer Mark Weber said.

Mostly made up of volunteers like Weber, the nonprofit behind the voter guides is called Eden Prairie Local News. EPLN is hyper-focused on local news and influencers; and as publisher Steve Schewe explains, their voter guide is meant to ensure voters make the most informed decisions possible on voting day.

"In this age of hyper-partisanship, we are trying to stick to the facts, and I think a lot of people in our community really appreciate that," Schewe said.

It’s been a significant investment in time and money; but one many felt was needed after early 2020 when the previous newspaper was purchased by New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital. Soon after, Alden shut down the paper, creating a hole in Eden Prairie’s news landscape.

"To not have a local news outlet anymore is a devastating thing," Weber said. "Local news is definitely under siege."

Now, EPLN is fighting back with the help of donations, advertising, sponsorships, and grants.

"This to me is a one-of-a-kind endeavor on the part of Eden Prairie Local News," Weber said. And the group believes it’s an important endeavor, saying more local news sparks higher civic engagement.

"It’s critical for local news to be around to keep communities thriving," Weber finished.

You can read more of Eden Prairie Local News’ work by clicking here.