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Another Newspaper Bites The Dust

above: the June 29, 2019 Vindicator headline (via Newseum)

Just days after celebrating its sesquicentennial The Vindicator of Youngstown, Ohio announced that it will cease publication at the end of August 2019.

Betty H. Brown Jagnow, Publisher and Mark A. Brown, General Manager notified readers:

On June 25, 2019, The Vindicator turned 150 years old – a special birthday we have always looked forward to enjoying with our readers, advertisers, staff and carriers.

Regrettably, after four generations of Maag-Brown family ownership, The Vindicator will not have much of a birthday celebration.

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. 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. We anticipate the last day you will see us will be Saturday, Aug. 31.

 

Mark A. Brown, in another column, explains the difficulties facing the modern newspaper:

A single, stand-alone newspaper (with the exception of about five papers in the U.S.) simply cannot generate a profit and therefore succeed now or in the future…

Everything I have written about our struggles is something any newspaper in the country could write about themselves. With perhaps a handful of exceptions (such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post), all of the remaining 1,300 daily newspapers in the U.S. have virtually the same story as ours. To be clear, our expenses have exceeded our revenues in 20 of the past 22 years…

We also worry about the general welfare of the community. Local newspapers help keep politicians honest, uncover corruption, make sure public servants do their jobs properly while keeping the public informed about what local governments and school boards are doing and report on the court system and with crime in the area…We worry about the void we will leave in covering local news and the effect that will have on the general welfare of our community.

 

The Youngstown Business Journal takes up that last point in its coverage:

Indications that the end could be near fed the rumor mill for months. Employees were unable to receive raises, they said, and open positions were not filled. News events that typically would have been staffed were not; there simply were not enough reporters to cover the types of meetings and developments that were always covered. And routine business expenses such as memberships in organizations were slashed.

Then there was the curious sale of old bound volumes of the newspaper for $30 apiece, which The Vindicator launched a few months ago. Hmmm, some observers said. Was it a fire sale?

“The void in the marketplace may be filled, perhaps by another daily newspaper beefing up its coverage of the Youngstown area. But it won’t be the same.”

The most likely candidate would be the Tribune Chronicle in Warren, which is owned by The Ogden Newspapers, based in Wheeling, W.Va. Ogden is owned by the Nutting family, which also owns the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In addition to the Tribune, Ogden publishes the Town Crier weekly newspapers in Mahoning and Trumbull counties as well as the Morning Journal in Lisbon, the Salem News in Salem, and The Review in East Liverpool.

The Business Journal continues with the unsettling newspaper statistics of late:

As the Pew Research Center reported June 13, “The estimated total U.S. daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) in 2017 was 31 million for weekday and 34 million for Sunday, down 11% and 10%, respectively, from the previous year. Declines were highest in print circulation: Weekday print circulation decreased 11% and Sunday circulation decreased 10%.”

The Pew study found estimated total newspaper advertising revenue in 2017 was $16.5 billion, a 10% decrease from 2016.

Citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the study reported “39,210 people worked as reporters, editors, photographers, or film and video editors in the newspaper industry in 2017. That is down 15% from 2014 and 45% from 2004.

 

As for the comics losing a client paper,
Jimmy Delach supplies this list of what the paper was carrying on Sunday June 2, 2019:

Blondie
Pickles
Garfield
Dilbert
Classic Rugrats
Marmaduke
Crankshaft
Prince Valiant
Funky Winkerbean
Hagar The Horrible
Classic Peanuts
The Family Circus
B.C.
Ziggy
Rex Morgan
Zits
Hi & Lois
Beetle Bailey
The Middletons
Wizard Of Id
Mary Worth
Judge Parker
Mark Trail
Dennis The Menace

 

 

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Darryl Heine
June/29/2019
@ 5:12 pm

After August 31, 2019, when the Youngstown Vindicator ceases, you will have to get access to these nearby city newspapers:
Cleveland Plain-Dealer (Ohio)
Akron Beacon-Journal (Ohio)
Wooster Record (Ohio)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania)
…does Sharon, PA have a newspaper?

#2 Pjterryberry
June/29/2019
@ 9:50 pm

Is that there comics section from today or 1961? No wonder they went out of business.

#3 Chris Carroll
June/30/2019
@ 5:03 pm

This really sad. The Vindicator is and has been a GREAT newspaper. Through good times and bad. Hopefully there could be a last minute save. Even if it means going to mostly digital.

#4 TVC15
July/1/2019
@ 7:47 am

Wonder if this is a way to break the union contracts and come back unencumbered.

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