Owner Is Giving Away Small-Town Newspaper

Proprietor of Minnesota weekly paper says he wants to join struggle in Ukraine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2022 7:02 AM CDT
Owner Is Giving Away Small-Town Newspaper
There’s very few things in life as rewarding as putting out a small town newspaper," Zion says.   (Getty Images/industryview)

(Newser) – The proprietor of a small-town paper in Minnesota wants to help Ukraine in its hour of need—and he's looking for somebody to take over the Lafayette Nicollet Ledger. Lee Zion bought the weekly paper for $35,000 four years ago. He says it's profitable and debt-free, with advertisers and around 500 subscribers. He says he will give the paper away for free, but the right candidate will have to work as hard as he does to keep it running almost single-handedly, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

"The next owner must show that he or she has the knowledge, experience and the drive to take on the challenge," Zion said in an ad offering to give the paper away. "That means putting out a newspaper every week, with only a handful of stringers to assist, while also handling the billing and other paperwork." The paper has served Lafayette and two other small communities in southern Minnesota since 1904. "There’s very few things in life as rewarding as putting out a small town newspaper," says Zion, who has spoken to a few interested candidates.

Zion, 54, tells the Star Tribune that his interest in Ukraine stems from his interest in the bandura, the country's traditional instrument. "Russians murdered people just for the crime of playing it," he says. "Sounds silly, but at the same time, it's so silly that it's evil." He says he has planned his route to Ukraine but he's not sure what role he will play when he gets there. "Where I go, that is up to other people," Zion said. "They'll decide whether I'm going to be in a combat zone. They'll decide whether I dig ditches. They'll decide whether I'm a teacher. I can be an escort taking people out of Ukraine." Or, he adds, "Maybe they'll put me into news, because that's what I've been doing my whole adult life." (Read more Minnesota stories.)

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