Two weekly newspapers in east-central South Dakota fold; COVID-19 partly to blame

DESMET, S.D. — Two long-time weekly newspapers in east central South Dakota have fallen victim, at least in part, to the coronavirus-caused economic downturn.

The “Lake Preston Times” and “The DeSmet News” both ceased publication yesterday after over one hundred years of continuous publication.

Dale Biegen, the publisher of both newspapers, wrote in a front-page editorial:

“This newspaper survived two world wars, the Great Depression, numerous recessions, and the Great Recession of 2008-09. . . The newspaper never fully recovered from the Great Recession or the negative effects of the internet and social media. This COVID-19 pandemic pushed us over the edge.”

According to the South Dakota Newspaper Association’s 2018 newspaper directory, the “Lake Preston Times” had a circulation of 691 and The DeSmet News” had a circulation of 1,046.

On Twitter, the SDNA said, “Journalism will persevere these difficult times. Still, there will be newspaper casualties along the way.”