Two newspapers owned by a former St. Louis alderman have joined the ranks of community publications that have quit printing editions due to the coronavirus threat.
The Northsider and Southsider weekly newspapers owned and operated by Antonio French have stopped their presses and the news operation has gone online-only, at MetroSTL.com.
The two papers had a combined weekly circulation of about 50,000 in St. Louis city, French said. He said his seven employees are working on reduced hours and his correspondents have been "put on pause."
"You can't run newspapers without advertisers," French said. "So we'll see what happens when restaurants and bars open back up. With them being closed, we don't even have places to distribute" printed copies.
French served two terms as a north St. Louis alderman. He did not seek a third term in 2017, instead opting to run for mayor. He finished fourth in a seven-person field.
French was a fixture on the streets of Ferguson during the 2014 unrest, and an oft-seen face in local and national media, becoming the subject of profiles in the Los Angeles Times and Ebony magazine.
On Monday, the Webster-Kirkwood Times Inc. announced it will stop its print editions of the flagship paper, as well as the South County Times and West End Word.
Meanwhile, the Riverfront Times announced Wednesday it will continue with its print edition after announcing last week it would stop publishing newspapers and operate only online.