BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Phoenix, one of New England's oldest alternative weeklies, is shutting down after 47 years because of a long-term decline in advertising revenue.
Executive Editor Peter Kadzis said Thursday the newspaper, which covered news and the arts, has ceased print publication and is cutting 40 jobs immediately. Its last online issue will be published next week, and 10 more jobs will eventually be shed, he said.
"I cannot find the words to express how sad a moment this is for me and I know for you, as well, so I won't try," Publisher Stephen Mindich said in a memo to workers.
Mindich said sister publications in Providence, R.I., and Portland, Maine, will remain in business because their local advertising markets sustain them.
The news sparked passionate and sad reaction among fans of the Phoenix, with some paying tribute to its contribution to the discovery of great bands and music, others lamenting the loss of an independent source of news and opinions, while others remembered it as the launching pad for some national journalists.
"Heard rumor that (at)BostonPhoenix is closing!" interim U.S. Sen. Mo Cowan said on his official Twitter account. "Can't be true. Pls tell me it's not true..."
The newspaper is going out of business some six months after a reorganization that saw it absorb a smaller subsidiary publication, known as Stuff Magazine, in an effort to stem the financial loses.
"We are a text book example of sweeping market-place change," said Kadzis, who has worked at the publication for 25 years. "Our recent switch to a magazine format met with applause from readers and local advertisers. Not so, with a few exceptions, national advertisers. You can see why Warren Buffett favors small market papers over their big city brothers and sisters."
In its parting farewell, the Boston Phoenix posted to fans on its Twitter account: "Thank you Boston. Good night and good luck."
Mindich indicated in his memo that some changes would be made at the sister papers in Rhode Island and Maine.
"Because of their smaller scale of operations and because we believe that they remain meaningful publications to their communities, with some necessary changes to each, it is our intent to keep the Providence and Portland Phoenixes operating and to do so for as long as they remain financially viable," he said.
Mindich owns the Phoenix Media/Communications Group that also runs the online radio station wfnx.com, the offshoot of a station that left the FM airwaves last year. He said the alternative rock station "will not continue as it is." Officials have yet to determine the station's future.
His firm's custom publication unit and Mass Web Printing Co., which specializes in producing weekly and monthly trade and business publications for clients from its base in central Massachusetts, will remain in business.
Rodrique Ngowi can be reached at www.twitter.com/ngowi
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