Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


A Star Tribune-Pioneer Press merger? Wouldn’t be the first time

Tales of Deadwood-era newspapering.
By David Brauer

Elevated from the comments

Star Tribune copy chief Ben Welter writes that paper’s fun history blog “Yesterday’s News.” After my post yesterday on Star Tribune-Pioneer Press merger scenarios, Ben wrote that it wouldn’t be the first time, pointing to this YN entry:

A merger of the Minneapolis and St. Paul daily newspapers, once unthinkable, is now thinkable. But the unthinkable has been thought of before. More than 130 years ago, the Minneapolis Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press combined to form a metrowide morning newspaper called the Dual City Pioneer Press and Tribune.

It’s a complicated story, but according to “History of the City of Minneapolis,” by Isaac Atwater, it came down to this: The owners of the Pioneer Press attempted to buy the Tribune to reduce the number of morning papers in Minneapolis and St. Paul to one, and thus boost circulation and corner the market on advertising.

Article continues after advertisement

You should click through for a great Deadwood-era yarn. I’m not sure future consolidators would revive the “Dual City Pioneer Press and Tribune,” but this 1876 tale of corporate intrigue shows that history can repeat, though hopefully without police intervention.