Santa Barbara newspaper closes after bankruptcy filing

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Santa Barbara Information-Press, certainly one of California’s oldest newspapers, has ceased publishing after its proprietor declared the 150-year-old publication bankrupt.

The newspaper turned an online-only publication in April. However its final digital version was posted Friday when proprietor Wendy McCaw filed for chapter.

Managing editor Dave Mason broke the information to employees in an e-mail Friday, in response to NoozHawk, a digital publication whose govt editor, Tom Bolton, used to guide the Information-Press.

“They ran out of cash to pay us. They may situation last paychecks when the chapter is accepted in courtroom,” Mason wrote to employees.

On Monday, the Information-Press’ web site was nonetheless on-line, with the newest tales revealed Friday. There was no point out that it might stop publishing or that it has declared chapter.

A voicemail message left Monday by The Related Press within the newsroom’s telephone quantity was not instantly returned.

The Chapter 7 chapter submitting by Ampersand Publishing, the dad or mum firm of the Santa Barbara Information-Press, stated it has belongings of lower than $50,000 and money owed and estimated liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million, in response to federal courtroom data. A gathering of collectors, which quantity between 200 and 999, is scheduled for Sept. 7.

Anthony Friedman, the lawyer listed for Ampersand Publishing within the chapter submitting, didn’t instantly return a telephone name or e-mail looking for remark. McCaw couldn’t be reached.

At its top, the newspaper based in 1855, had a every day circulation of 45,000 and was revealed seven days per week, serving Santa Barbara, an upscale metropolis of 90,000 individuals. Editorial author Thomas M. Storke gained a Pulitzer Prize in 1962 for a sequence of editorials in regards to the John Birch Society.

McCaw, then a billionaire native philanthropist lively on environmental and animal rights points, purchased the every day from The New York Instances Co. in October 2000 and some months later appointed herself and her fiancé, Arthur von Weisenberger, as performing co-publishers.

Six years later, Santa Barbara Information-Press Editor Jerry Roberts stop the newspaper together with 4 different high editors and a columnist to protest strikes by McCaw that they stated undermined the paper’s credibility. The editors who stop cited the publishers’ meddling in tales, which they stated compromised the paper’s ethics. In a single instance, the editors alleged McCaw was in opposition to publishing a narrative about one editor’s drunken driving arrest and later intervened to cease a second story.

The editors who stop had been additionally upset that McCaw had appointed the paper’s editorial web page editor because the performing writer.

“On one hand you might have somebody writing editorials and alternatively enhancing information tales. There’s an inherent battle,” Don Murphy, who stop because the paper’s managing editor, informed the AP on the time.

The paper’s closure “isn’t an enormous shock,” Roberts stated Monday. “The paper’s been on a downhill slide for some time.”

“However the truth that the group has misplaced its solely paper is unspeakably unhappy,” he added.

Santa Barbara, which sits alongside the coast about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles, is thought for its beautiful geography and wineries, attracting vacationers and celebrities alike for its delicate local weather and exquisite views. The close by city of Montecito was the location of lethal 2018 mudslides that killed 23 individuals.

About half of registered voters in Santa Barbara County are Democrats whereas roughly 1 / 4 are Republicans, statistics that mirror the remainder of the state. Underneath McCaw’s management, the paper in 2016 was among the many few to endorse Republican Donald Trump for president. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton gained practically twice as many votes within the county. McCaw personally wrote an editorial endorsing Trump once more in 2020.

The group nonetheless has a weekly newspaper, The Unbiased, in addition to the digital website Noozhawk. The closest main every day newspaper is now in Ventura County. San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles, every greater than 90 miles (145 kilometers) away, even have every day papers.

The Press-Information’ closure is the newest instance of a struggling information media, stated Tim Franklin, an professional in native information at Northwestern College’s Medill College of Journalism.

“We’re dropping on common two newspapers per week within the U.S.,” Franklin stated. “We’re on tempo to have misplaced a couple of third of all newspapers by 2025.”

Media firms are having to compete with Google, Fb and Amazon, that are absorbing a lot of the advert market, and have but to determine a worthwhile enterprise mannequin for native information, he stated.

“The native information disaster is occurring in each nook of the nation, together with in prosperous cities and suburbs,” he added.

The Los Angeles Instances not too long ago introduced layoffs and earlier this month bought The San Diego Union-Tribune to MediaNews Group, which owns tons of of papers across the nation.

The Union-Tribune, which covers the second-largest metropolis in California, is now owned by the identical chain that owns a slew of Southern California newspapers. The dad or mum firm is Alden World Capital, which has purchased up newspapers throughout the nation and confronted criticism for slashing budgets and reducing jobs.

In January, the Mail Tribune, certainly one of Oregon’s oldest working newspapers, shut down, saying declines in promoting spending and problem hiring employees precipitated the closure.

The paper-based in Medford, Oregon, stopped producing a print version in September however continued working in a digital format till closing.

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