Reader Luce Kanon tips us to the latest California newspaper closing, this time in the state’s far north, where a paper owned by MediaNews, the Denver-based chain which controls the largest share of California’s newspaper circulation, is calling it quits.
No word yet on how many jobs will be lost.
From Thadeus Greenson of the Eureka Times Standard, which is also ceasing print publication of its Monday edition, a practice already implemented here in the San Francisco Bay Area by some of MedNews’s papers:
The Humboldt Beacon newspaper — a local institution that has informed the Eel River Valley for more than a century — will cease publication next month, Times-Standard Publisher Dave Kuta announced Monday. The Beacon’s last issue will be Dec. 8.
The Times-Standard will also cease publication of its Monday print edition after Jan. 2. The two cost-saving moves will be accompanied by the layoffs of a Times-Standard photographer and the Humboldt Beacon editor.
”None of these decisions were made easily,” Kuta said in a company-wide memo announcing the decision to staff Monday afternoon.
”The next few weeks will be difficult ones, but I’m confident we will be able to move forward in a stronger position to face the challenges ahead.”
Kuta cited a down economy that has led to sagging advertising revenue and increased costs associated with production and distribution as reasons for the decisions, which he said were made over the last month.
Both the Times-Standard and the weekly Humboldt Beacon are owned by Denver, Colo., based MediaNews Group, a privately-owned company founded in 1983 by William Dean Singleton that operates more than 55 daily newspapers in 11 states with a combined daily circulation of approximately 2.5 million.
Kuta said Monday’s decision was made locally and not handed down by MediaNews Group.
The Humboldt Herald news blog adds more:
When the Humboldt Herald started in the spring of 2006, a rich local media environment appeared to be thriving — but then again, so did the housing market. Eureka had two newspapers, the T-S and Rob Arkley’s Eureka Reporter. Competition gave the T-S a badly needed kick in the keester, and for a while there seemed to be reporters on every little story.
But the Reporter was supported almost entirely by Arkley’s pocket book and therefore doomed to fail. ER reporters have gone back to bar tending or left the area in search of journalism jobs.
Is the loss of the Beacon and the Monday Times-Standard another step toward total annihilation of newspapers as we know them? It seems unlikely that these changes will right the listing boat.
Or perhaps these cutbacks in addition to the T-S paywall will spare us from a paperless future. But don’t hold your breath.