The Baltimore Sun Media Group announced today that it plans to close City Paper, its free alternative weekly newspaper. Baltimore Sun Media Group purchased the paper in 2014 from Times-Shamrock Communications (the group is part of Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing, which owns the Baltimore Sun, as well as the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, among other dailies).
“Like many alternative weeklies across the country, declining ad revenue at City Paper continues to be a challenge,” BSMG’s director of marketing, Renee Mutchnik, said in a statement published on the City Paper website. “It became clear to us this past fall that we would cease publishing City Paper sometime in 2017. Details about the closing date are still being discussed. This is a difficult decision and we are mindful of how it affects our employees, the readers and advertisers.”
Staff was informed of the closing last week.
City Paper editors and staff would love to see if a new owner will appear to rescue the alt-weekly.
“Look, Trump’s the president, this city’s a goddamned mess, Pugh’s off to a terrible start, and the city is going to lose its progressive media voices. Marc Steiner’s about to end his show and we’re basically dead in the water,” wrote editor Brandon Soderberg. “For now, again like on the Titanic, we plan on holding on and doing great work until the end, and I’d also say to anyone out there who likes what we do and wants to keep it around: Buy us!”
Tronc is still in negotiations with Wrapports, the owner of the Chicago Sun-Times over whether they will scoop up their tabloid rival in Chicago. Wrapports has threatened to close the Sun-Times should the DOJ block the sale, as it did in Orange County when then Tribune Publishing tried to acquire the Orange County Register.
Tronc is due to report its Q2 earnings in early August.