The Boston Phoenix, which first started publishing in 1966, abruptly announced yesterday that it is ceasing publication with the current issue, dated March 15. The last online edition will be March 22.
Readers first learned of the shutdown through a tweet that read “Thank you Boston. Good night and good luck.”
The Phoenix, which only six months ago converted from a newspaper to a glossy magazine, became the latest victim of the years long advertising slump and rapid movement of readers who prefer to get their news online. These factors have plagued major newspapers across the country as well.
Reports estimated that owner and publisher Stephen Mindich was losing $1 million per year on the magazine and that it had accumulated debts of $1.2 million, making it financially unfeasible to continue.
Mindich issued the following statement to employees:
I can state with certainty that this is the single most difficult communication I’ve ever had to deliver and there’s no other way to state it than straightforwardly –
As of now the Boston Phoenix has ceased publishing and wfnx.com will not continue as it is.
As everyone knows, between the economic crisis beginning in 2007 and the simultaneous radical changes in the media business, particularly as it has affected print media advertising, 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.
Because of their smaller scale of operations and because we believe that they remain meaningful publications to their communities, with some necessary changes to each, it is our intent to keep the Providence and Portland Phoenixes operating and to do so for as long as they remain financially viable. The same is true for Mass Web Printing Co.
I cannot find the words to express how sad a moment this is for me, and I know, for you as well, so I won’t try.
What I can and will say is I am extremely proud, as all of you should be, of the highest standards of journalism we have set and maintained throughout the decades in all of our areas of coverage and the important role we have played in driving political and socially progressive and responsible agendas; in covering the worlds of arts and entertainment, food and fashion – always with a critical view, while at the same time promoting their enormous importance in maintaining a healthy society; and in advocating for the recognition and acceptance of a wide range of lifestyles that are so valuable for a vibrant society.
And finally, at least for this moment, I want to thank all of you – and the literally thousands of women and men before you, for lending your talents to our mission over the past 47 years – as I have always said – our staff has been our soul.
And obviously as well, my sincere gratitude to our millions of readers and tens of thousands of advertisers without whom none of what we did accomplish could have been possible or meaningful.
So, that’s it. We have had an extraordinary run.
Readers may lament the loss of the left-wing Phoenix, but they can take some solace knowing that they still have the Boston Globe—at least for the time being