An Eden Prairie news website that launched after the local paper shuttered is attempting to fill the void of city election coverage, recently mailing an extensive voters guide to every household in the southwest suburb.
The online start-up Eden Prairie Local News, which started two years ago and relies mostly on freelancers and volunteers, created the print voter guide to inform residents of who's running in city races.
"If we weren't doing it, there's a real vacuum out there that is getting filled by folks who have very specific agendas," said Steve Schewe, Eden Prairie Local News' publisher and CEO.
Twenty pages of the guide are dedicated to local Eden Prairie races, while the remaining few pages cover the Third Congressional District election and other county and statewide contests.
Mailing the voter guide to every Eden Prairie household was done both as a public service and to "introduce ourselves and become more visible," Schewe said.
"The print legacy weeklies that traditionally provided the news to communities like Eden Prairie are having a hard time or going out of business," he said. "And then they're being replaced by people like us."
Producing and distributing the guide cost about $20,000 for the news site, which does not charge online readers for subscriptions and instead seeks donations, Schewe said. The site started a pledge campaign Tuesday where every donation up to $1,000 will be matched by the national Institute for Nonprofit News.