News

Boston alt-weekly The Phoenix closes after 47 years

The Boston Phoenix, a free alt-weekly known for its sharp commentary on politics and culture, announced on Wednesday its closing after 47 years in print.

by Nick Tjaardstra nick.tjaardstra@wan-ifra.org | March 15, 2013

The closure follows several hardships for the publication. Last year the Phoenix Media Group pulled alt-rock station 101.7 WFNX off the air, moving the property online. Last August, the publishers announced that the paper itself would merge with sister publication Stuff Magazine to become a magazine. Re-branding its content in the hopes of attracting the valuable advertisers, The Phoenix didn’t get the national advertisers it needed.

Publisher Stephen M. Mindich released a statement yesterday, citing the economic crisis of 2007 and media changes as the reasons for the closure. He says:

“These have been extremely difficult times for our Company and despite the valiant effort by many, many past and current staff to attempt to stabilize and, in fact, reverse our significant financial losses, we have been unable to do so and they are no longer sustainable.”

The news of the abrupt closure came as a shock to the staff, as they were at work on the next issue. Editor-in-chief Carly Carioli lamented the absence of a proper closure for the magazine, but praised the dedication of its readers.

“We didn’t suffer from declining readership, online or in print — only declining revenue.”

The publisher plans to liquidate the paper’s assets and distribute the proceeds to the creditors. It is estimated that the business had $1.2 million in debt.

Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham wrote: “What happened today is bad news for Boston. And it’s an awfully bad sign for journalism in general. As if we needed any more of those.”

Sister publications in Providence and Portland, Maine, will stay in business, but WFNX.com, the Phoenix Media/Communication Corp.’s online radio station, will not continue in its present form.