The filing was expected after a warning from the unions last week after talks ended about cuts to the paper. The paper missed several payments to the paper's lenders. The paper was purchased by Avista Capital Partners for $530 million less than two years ago.
In its filing, the newspaper listed assets of $493.2 million and liabilities of $661.1 million. The company said it hopes to use bankruptcy to restructure its debt and lower its labor costs.
Like most newspapers, the Star Tribune has experienced a sharp decline in print advertising. Its earnings before interest, taxes and debt payments was about $26 million in 2008, down from about $59 million in 2007 and about $115 million in 2004.
In a statement, Star Tribune publisher Chris Harte said, "We intend to use the Chapter 11 process to make this great Twin Cities institution stronger, leaner and more efficient so that it is better positioned for the future."