Sep 21, 2021 - Business

Southwest Voices seeks to bring news, connection to Minneapolis neighborhoods

Illustration of a location pin icon with a newspaper in the center

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Southwest Minneapolis is getting a new hyper-local site.

Driving the news: Southwest Voices, a news source meant to help fill the void created when the Southwest Journal newspaper folded at the end of 2020, is now live, Axios has learned.

The big picture: Nationally, local outlets are struggling to stay afloat. But the Twin Cities is proving an exception to the trend, supporting a robust — and growing — media ecosystem.

What to expect: Southwest Voices will focus on news, information and events for close to two dozen neighborhoods in its coverage zone. Users will be able to sort and follow news by community.

  • Think local association and planning meeting agendas and recaps, business spotlights and more.
  • It's free, but a membership option will be available. The business model will also rely on ads from local businesses and, eventually, events.

Behind the launch: The site is founded by Charlie Rybak, a political and digital media strategist, and Andrew Haeg, an American Public Media alum who founded GroundSource, a texting platform focused on newsrooms and nonprofits.

  • Of note: Rybak is the son of former Mayor RT Rybak.

What they're saying: The founders told Axios they want to create a community-led source for reliable news and information that promotes civic engagement — without the conflict and negativity that plagues some social media groups and platforms.

  • "A lot of people have a lot to say about Minneapolis. But it's really important for the people of Minneapolis to be able to tell their own story," Rybak said.

What's next: Southwest Voices is hiring an editor and a civic producer/ news organizer for the site.

  • They'll start publishing stories online later this month, with a newsletter expected to go live Oct. 4.

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