Two more American newspapers bit the dust on the weekend, the first time more papers were shut in the US than banks were (No banks were shut by regulators for only the second time this year). USA Today publisher Gannett said on Friday it is closing down the print edition of the Arizona newspaper Tucson Citizen, but keeping the online edition operating and the Ann Arbour news in Ann Arbour, Michigan announced that it would close on July 23.

The Tucson Citizen was Arizona’s oldest continuously published daily newspaper (it was founded in 1859, before the American Civil War started) and the final edition Saturday carried a last headline: “Our Epitaph.” Gannett said the last print edition of Tucson Citizen came after last minute talks with two possible buyers fell over. Lee Enterprises, which publishes the larger Arizona Daily Star newspaper, had also formed a joint operating agreement with Gannett to publish the Citizen. Such agreements are forged in certain instances to allow multiple newspapers in one city. That agreement ended on Saturday. Lee plans to publish a Tucson Citizen weekly editorial in the Daily Star as part of a partnership with Gannett.

The Ann Arbor News plans to continue after July 23 with a twice-weekly online-focused operation taking the place of the print edition. The new site will also produce a print edition on Thursdays and Sundays. The News said in March it would cease publication after 174 years because of steep revenue losses. The paper is owned by Advance Publications, owned by the Newhouse family, which controls Conde Nast and a string of magazines, including Vogue.

The two papers follow E.W. Scripps Co’s Rocky Mountain News, which was shut earlier this year. Hearst’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer also shut its print edition and has an online edition that is far smaller than the printed newspaper was. Others, like the New York Times Co-owned Boston Globe and Hearst’s San Francisco Chronicle, continue to shutdown, despite doing deals with employees to lower costs to try and survive the slump. Other papers, such as the Detroit Free Press have stopped distributing papers to residents other than on several high advertising spending days (relatively speaking). The News will still be sold through newsstands and vending machines during the week

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey