SN&R falls victim to coronavirus closures, cancellations

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — What will be the last issue of Sacramento News & Review is hitting stands Thursday. 

The cover story features the deadly pandemic that is now killing off the diverse voices offered in SN&R and dozens of other papers across the country.

Like many free, alternative newspapers, SN&R’s managers said they have to stop publication because advertising for the concerts and events that paid for their operation has evaporated as COVID-19 cancels just about everything.

Most of the 100 editorial and distribution staff in Sacramento and at papers run by the organization in Chico and Reno are out of a job.

The business’s client publication wing will keep operating and doing inserts for county departments across the country or the census. 

SN&R President Jeff Von Kaenel said when alternative voices are lost, an important part of the public discourse disappears.

“Having journalism where people can rely on really vetted information to make decisions on controversial subjects is critical,” he told FOX40. “To have a place when you have a robust opinion section and then to have watchdog journalism is super critical.”

Efforts to curtail the spread of the virus also posed a problem for the paper because most of its distribution stands are located inside businesses that are now closed to the public.

Due to an online donation effort that started Tuesday to help SN&R, $7,000 have already been raised. That will pay to keep about four reporters still working, still producing free articles that can be found on SN&R’s website.

Another local paper hit hard is Submerge, a free, biweekly magazine focused on Sacramento’s music scene. The magazine’s publishers have established a fundraiser to keep the magazine afloat.

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