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Langdon, ND, newspaper faces uncertainty after Country Media ceases publication

Country Media, the company that owns the Cavalier County Republican, has apparently ceased publication of the newspaper, leaving the paper’s future uncertain.

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The steeple at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church towers over Langdon, N.D., in 2018. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald
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LANGDON, N.D. – The Nov. 29 issue of the Cavalier County Republican may be the last of its 132-year run.

Country Media, the company that owns the Republican, has apparently ceased publication of the newspaper, leaving the paper’s future uncertain. The newspaper, based in Langdon, North Dakota, began publication in 1889.

Multiple calls and emails to the Cavalier County Republican and Country Media seeking comment were not returned.

Country Media is based in Salem, Oregon, and owns 11 other newspapers in California and Oregon. The company previously owned multiple newspapers in North Dakota, including the Adams Country Record in Hettinger, Dunn County Herald in Killdeer and The Herald in New England, all of which closed in 2019.

The Nov. 29 issue of the Cavalier County Republican made little mention of ceasing publication of the newspaper or the newspaper closing, but there was a brief mention within a published story last week.

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In the recap of the Nov. 22 Langdon City Commission meeting, Kristi Mostoller wrote “this is the final newspaper Cavalier County Republican will be producing meaning the city will need to find another newspaper to publish minutes in until an election where the city can vote where the minutes should be published.”

RoxAnne Hoffarth, Langdon city auditor, said the city and county were notified on Monday, Nov. 22, that Country Media was ceasing publication of the Republican.

“It’s kind of a shock, obviously,” said Hoffarth. “We’re just trying to figure out where we are going to put our news now.”

Hoffarth said the city’s most urgent concern is determining where public and legal notices, like board meeting minutes and bid postings, will be published.

Marvin Baker, editor of the Republican from 1995 to 1999 and a current columnist, is not only worried about what will happen to legal notices, but also obituaries, sports and other local coverage.

Langdon, located about 114 miles northwest of Grand Forks, has a population of 1,909.

“It leaves the community of Langdon and other small communities in Cavalier County like Munich and Nekoma and so on in the lurch,” said Baker. “Is Channel 8 going to come out there and do all their sports? I don’t think so.”

Baker described the sudden change as devastating.

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“All these years later, it’s just, was it worth it?” asked Baker. “Well, yes it was because we did it for the readers of the newspaper.”

The Cavalier County Commission is scheduled to discuss the newspaper vacancy and where to publish public and legal notices at its next meeting, on Dec. 7. Commissioners will choose a paper in a neighboring county to publish legal notices until a vote can be held to designate which paper they will be published in permanently.

Meanwhile, the North Dakota Newspaper Association sent a notice to its members, expressing concern about the news.

"We are trying to reach out to neighbors to gauge whether there would be interest in keeping the paper open," the email said. "As I’m sure you are aware, once a paper ceases printing it can be incredibly difficult to start it back up, so there is some urgency to this issue."

Related Topics: CAVALIER COUNTY
Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or iharbo@gfherald.com. Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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