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A bad week for alternative weeklies

newspaperIt’s been a decidedly bad week for alternative newsweeklies, with three weeklies making headlines this week as they closed the final chapter. Three cities across the country are now bereft of their edgy newsprint voice, a voice every city needs.

As of today, the Providence Phoenix in Providence, Rhode Island, printed its last issue. The paper launched on March 8, 1978, and many farewells can be found on the paper’s site. WPRI.com reported that Phoenix Media’s chief operating officer Everett Finkelstein noted in a statement that “the unhappy reality of today’s media world is that the continual shrinkage of print advertising revenue and the increasing costs of producing an award-winning newspaper such as the Providence Phoenix made this no longer economically viable.” The paper was owned by Phoenix Media/Communications Group, which shut down the Boston Phoenix more than year ago. There has been no word on the future of the group’s remaining paper, the Portland Phoenix.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian shut the doors on its paper on Wednesday after almost 50 years of reporting the news. Publisher Glenn Zuehls of the San Francisco Media Company cited financial issues, reported SFGate.com. The publishing group purchased the paper in 2012 from Bruce Brugmann and his wife, Jean Dibble. The two founded the paper in 1966.

Keeping with the bad news trend in the alternative weekly sector, Knoxville, Tennessee’s Metro Pulse staff received news that all 23 employees had been laid off earlier this week. According to KnoxNews.com, the paper is being merged with Knoxville.com, which is the News Sentinel’s Friday entertainment section. The daily News Sentinel was the parent paper to the standalone weekly Metro Pulse.  The layoffs represent roughly 6 percent of the daily’s employees.

Weeklies in general have been closed in high numbers over the last several years, but the alternative weekly’s specific plight never looked so grim. Especially within the span of a week. Newspapers will close, they always do, but hopefully the last five days haven’t been indicative of a greater trend to come.

 

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