RIFT rises: Twin Cities culture sites to launch newspaper


Paul Schmelzer, 4/30/08 • Print news is in such famously bad shape that Advertising Age is running “The Newspaper Death Watch,” which quotes an expert who gives an industry in “terminal decline” 20 to 25 years to live. In this context, it’s noteworthy when any publication decides to launch a pulp version: This week the Twin Cities culture magazine Rift, which ditched its print version not long ago for a web-only enterprise, announced that it’ll start producing a “newspaper style guide” to goings-on in the area. It’ll launch May 17 with a print run of 10,000 copies, which will be available at coffeeshops and stores.

While this is a different kind of animal than resource-intensive daily print news, publisher Rich Horton will still face some challenges: distro, paper costs, marketing, paying writers. Rift is fundraising now for the endeavor, and it’s banking, in part at least, on the attention and resources its partners will bring to the table. That list so far includes Culturebully.com, the Walker Art Center/McKnight Foundation’s mnartists.org, Howwastheshow.com, Minneapoliscast.com and Perfect Porridge.

In an email this morning, Horton says they’re going back to print “because of the responses and impact. Really it will be a move to help promote the website — which is backwards but exactly the way I like it.”

He feels a real need for an independent newspaper in town: “City Pages, Vita.mn and The Onion, great if you want tons of advertisements, fake funny news stories and where to find the best Cocktail in the cities.”