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CherryRoad Media to fill void left by closed Minnesota newspapers

Community journalism is alive and well in two central Minnesota communities today even as they face the loss of their historic local newspapers.

CherryRoad Media, the nation’s fastest-growing newspaper company, announced that it will open newspapers in Hutchinson and Litchfield, Minnesota, to fill the void left by the closing of the Hutchinson Leader and the Litchfield Independent Review.

The Leader and the Independent Review, both published since the 1880s, printed their final editions April 24, leaving the communities without a local newspaper to chronicle their respective histories, triumphs and challenges.

CherryRoad, experienced at opening newspapers in communities that have lost theirs, has responded.


“We are in the business of serving communities like Hutchinson and Litchfield,” CherryRoad Media CEO Jeremy Gulban said. “When we heard these communities would lose their papers, we quickly reacted. We don’t want to see these towns, and their citizens, fall into another news desert. Too many small towns across this country have faced that prospect in recent years. If we can help avoid that here, well, count us in.”

CherryRoad will be launching the newspapers, The Hutchinson Station and The Litchfield Rail, with first editions targeted for Thursday, May 9.

Lee Bachlet, COO of CherryRoad Media, said, “We wanted this to be seamless, without a break in community coverage, and we are going to deliver that as closely as possible. The citizens of Hutchinson, Litchfield and surrounding areas will go one week without a local paper, but only one week. And then they will be served by familiar faces, albeit under new names.”

The names are rooted in the towns’ histories. Hutchinson was founded in 1855 by Asa Hutchinson, a member of the famed Hutchinson Family Singers, and was originally named Hutchinson Station. And Litchfield has a long, intertwined history with the railroad, starting with it being originally platted in October 1869 by the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad as the company extended its lines to the area.

Joining these new endeavors will be familiar faces, including previously existing editorial and advertising staff, led by Editor Brent Schacherer, who has been doing journalism in Hutchinson and Litchfield for 25 years.

“I am excited to be a part of this effort to bring a local news source back to Hutchinson and Litchfield,” Schacherer said. “Community newspapers play such a vital role in keeping residents informed and engaged, and when CherryRoad presented this opportunity to keep local journalism flourishing in our two local communities, I could not pass it up.

“While CherryRoad is a large organization with newspapers throughout the country, it has demonstrated time and again its commitment to community journalism.”

CherryRoad Media is the media division of CherryRoad Technologies, based out of Parsippany, New Jersey. It operates over 80 newspapers in 18 states, including 10 community journalism operations and a printing plant in Minnesota.

One of those Minnesota operations, the Rainy Lake Gazette in International Falls, is also the product of a new newspaper opened in a town that had lost its longtime journal. The Rainy Lake Gazette was first published on July 16, 2021, and today it is one of CherryRoad’s most successful newspapers.

International Falls has embraced the newspaper and the company as CherryRoad has proved itself to be an invested community supporter. “Hutchinson and Litchfield don’t know us yet, but they can look to International Falls for an answer as to what kind of partner we will be,” Gulban said. “What they will quickly realize is we are a good, local partner committed to the success of our communities. We are excited for this opportunity and plan on being engrained in these local communities for years to come.”

CherryRoad is committed to reporting on local news with resident journalists in the communities that it serves. Its mission is to capitalize on its roots as a technology company to provide innovative media and technology services to local communities while simultaneously improving the digital experience and engagement of its subscribers.

At the forefront, CherryRoad Media’s priority is to impact its local markets in innovative and strategic ways while serving them with high-quality, locally-focused journalism. The CherryRoad story began in 1983 when the Gulban family started a technology company. A key tenet of that company’s growth strategy was listening to clients.

As customers asked CherryRoad to create new solutions, capacity, and offerings to support their organizations, CherryRoad developed strategies to help them succeed. Since its founding, CherryRoad Technologies has grown into a highly reputable organization serving thousands of customers across the country. Its high level of customer service and excellence in creating effective business solutions has translated into years of ongoing success.

In 2020, with the decline in local news investment, CherryRoad’s CEO, Jeremy Gulban, decided to chase his passion for journalism and communication and entered the media world via the inception of CherryRoad Media. Through a series of acquisitions and newspaper start-up projects, he has quickly grown the company into a reputable, thriving institution. His enthusiasm for the news industry continues to evolve and his commitment to helping local communities throughout the country has only been strengthened by the relationships Gulban has developed. At the forefront, CherryRoad Media’s priority is to impact its local markets in innovative and strategic ways.

“We strive to keep local, local,” Gulban said. ”We strive to serve the communities we operate in by engaging in the coverage of important local and regional stories and events. By leveraging our technology expertise, we can deliver effective technical and media solutions to our customers and local organizations.”

The Hutchinson Station and The Litchfield Rail will begin publishing with Thursday, May 9 editions. Anyone interested in more information, and/or advertising and marketing opportunities, can contact COO Lee Bachlet at Local offices will be opening in the coming weeks with community gatherings to be announced.

-- CherryRoad Media press release