Office manager buys 164-year-old Minnesota newspaper so it won't shut down

Catherine Garcia
·1 min read

The Chatfield News has been keeping people in Chatfield, Minnesota, informed for the last 164 years, and it will continue doing so well into the future, thanks to Pam Bluhm.

Bluhm first started working at the Chatfield News 40 years ago, and when the owners told her in March that they were closing, she knew she couldn't let this happen. "Chatfield needs a newspaper," Bluhm told the Star Tribune. She was the paper's office manager, but after using her $1,200 coronavirus stimulus check, Bluhm became its owner.

Newspapers are vital for small towns like Chatfield, which has a population of 2,800. The Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina has found that over the last 15 years, more than one-fourth of all U.S. newspapers have shuttered, and current and former Chatfield residents are helping keep the Chatfield News afloat — subscriptions are up 15 percent, Bluhm told the Star Tribune, and she regularly receives cards in the mail with donations of up to $400.

Community members also volunteer their time writing articles and picking up the paper from a printer 60 miles away. "It's fun for them, and they want to see the newspaper make a go of it," Bluhm said. Everyone knows they are welcome to stop by the office with the latest news to share with Bluhm, and she will do her part to spread it. "Service to humanity is the best work of life," she said. "That's my motto."

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