Youngstown, Ohio, is losing its only daily newspaper when The Vindicator shutters at the end of August. The website will close as well.
The announcement followed the paper’s 150th anniversary last week.
“Due to great financial hardships, we spent the last year searching for a buyer to continue to operate The Vindicator and preserve as many jobs as possible, while maintaining the paper’s voice in the community,” the Maag-Brown family wrote in a statement on the paper’s website.
“That search has been unsuccessful. As a result, with a deep sense of sadness and tremendous dismay, we notified our employees yesterday that The Vindicator would cease publication in 60 days.”
The paper has been owned for four generations by the Maag-Brown family, who bought it 132 years ago following a fire in 1887. It counts 100,000 readers a day. They called their decision "gut-wrenching."
Youngstown has a population of 65,000 with a metro area of 540,000.
“It’d be relatively easy to think of this as a Youngstown story… But I don’t think this is a Youngstown story. I fear we’ll look back on this someday as the beginning of an important (and negative) shift in local news in America,” wrote Joshua Benton for Nieman Lab.
Outlets have reported that 144 employees and approximately 250 carriers will lose their jobs.
The family’s statement outlined the paper’s struggle to find a stable business model over the past few years, including working with employees and unions, investing in new presses and covering all angles to increase revenue. Efforts to raise the price of the paper or drive revenue to the print and digital site failed to secure sufficient funds.“However, in spite of our best efforts, advertising and circulation revenues have continued to decline, and The Vindicator continues to operate at a loss,” the statement said.
Ohio Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Tim Ryan tweeted it was “heartbreaking.”