Zenith News has gone dark - Perfect Duluth Day

Zenith News has gone dark

Another alternative publication in Duluth appears to have fallen to the wayside. Zenith News has not published an issue since April.

Attempts to reach owners Taylor and Jennifer Martin-Romme proved difficult. Past contributors to the newspaper, which launched in 2007, either don’t know why the publication ceased or left it up to the owners to talk about it.

Jennifer and Taylor Martin-Romme (photo via Zenith News website)

Phone calls to the Zenith went to voicemail, as did those to the other local numbers connected to the Martin-Rommes. A voice message to a phone number in Nevada was responded to by Jennifer Martin-Romme.

“Thanks for your interest,” she texted back. “But now isn’t a very good time. I’m working in Nevada and the transition is crazy busy. Thanks for thinking of us but I need to decline for right now.”

There was no response when she was asked to confirm the Zenith was no longer in business.

In September, Jennifer Martin-Romme filed a field report for Burning Man Journal. Her author bio on the site states she is a “fourth-year Burner” and is “currently reporting from the playa for the 2019 MOOP Map blogpost series.”

Burning Man is a festival of sorts where participants create a city based on alternative arts and culture. It takes place in Black Rock Desert in Nevada, north of Reno, in late August and into September.

The first issue of Zenith City Weekly was published July 10, 2007. It was an eight-page “preview” edition. The paper eventually adopted an every-other-week publishing schedule and modified its name to Zenith City Semi-weekly. It never seemed to operate on a tightly adhered-to schedule and the name was later simplified to Zenith News. In the end, it was printed about every three weeks. At its peak it averaged 20 pages and stated a mission to “inform, to entertain, and perhaps, just perhaps, make you a better person.”

Zenith News featured lengthy cover stories written by a variety of writers on issues about education, the environment, social issues and politics. It won two writing awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association.

The rest of its pages featured humor and health columnists, arts reviews and the work of cartoonists, photographers and artists.

Another Duluth alternative publication, the Transistor, discontinued its print editions in 2018 but kept producing weekly issues online until its publisher, Adam Guggemos, pulled the plug on the operation in February. The demise of the Transistor and Zenith News leaves the Duluth Reader as the area’s only alternative publication in print.



about 5 years ago

I heard they had issues finding a printer.


about 11 months ago

Wrote for this publication for 3-years. Never received any monetary reimbursement for my work. First I was told that because checks were so small they paid their employees on a yearly basis because most people threw them in a drawer and forgot to cash them. After one year, I was told I would have to wait for another year because I hadn't worked a full calendar year for the first pay period. Third year, I took a couple of months off due to a death in the family in January but was never alerted to their closure during that time. When I finally tracked Jennifer I learned my wages were not put into an escrow-type account. She said she would not pay me out of her own pocket and I was just screwed. I found it curious that the 'investors/board members' (her parents) were paid just three months prior to ZCW's closure.

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