May 15, 2009

Arizona's oldest paper to fold

The Tucson Citizen will print its final edition on Saturday, as it becomes the latest metropolitan newspaper to shut down operations. The Citizen will transition to an online-only publication, but the site will consist of opinion only. Gannett has yet to set up a budget for the project.

From the Citizen:
[Gannett vice president of news Kate] Marymont delivered the news to a staff that has been on hold since March 17, when Gannett said the planned March 21 closing would be postponed due to negotiations with buyers.

She said the Citizen's 60 employees would know by the end of the day if they would be laid off, kept on as a short term transition team or be hired long term.

Stephen Hadland, CEO of the Santa Monica Media Company, which publishes the Culver City Observer, reportedly offered half a million dollars for the Citizen, but was told the he'd have to come up with at least $800,000 and agree to publish a printed edition at least three times a week. Hadland said he has asked the Arizona Attorney General to file a temporary restraining order to keep the paper being published "pending a court order requiring the sale."

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