Ann Arbor News abandons print, goes online

July 23, 2009
The Ann Arbor News published its final edition on Thursday, the latest US newspaper to abandon print for an online future.

The Ann Arbor News published its final edition on Thursday, the latest US newspaper to abandon print for an online future.

"Farewell, Ann Arbor," read a banner headline on the last edition of the 174-year-old daily, the only in the town in the northern state of Michigan.

The closure of the Ann Arbor News makes the city, which has a population of nearly 115,000 and is home to the University of Michigan, one of the largest in the United States without a daily newspaper.

"It's been a great run," wrote publisher Laurel Champion. "The devastating transformation of the newspaper industry and the severe economic impact on The News forced the painful and difficult decision to close our newspaper."

Advance Publications, which owns the Ann Arbor News, is replacing the paper, which had a circulation of nearly 50,000, with a website, AnnArbor.com, which will also publish a print edition on Thursdays and Sundays.

Michigan is among the US states hardest hit by job losses and the two major newspapers in the recession-hit US auto capital, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News, cut back home delivery to just three days a week in March.

Like other US newspapers, the Ann Arbor News has been grappling with falling print revenue, declining circulation and free news online.

In May, the Gannett-owned Tucson Citizen, which covered the famed "Gunfight at the OK Corral" and other notable events as the oldest newspaper in the state of Arizona, printed its final edition and went online only.

Two other major newspapers folded earlier this year -- the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in Seattle, Washington, which stopped publishing a print edition to go online only.

The Christian Science Monitor also went Web-only this year after 100 years in print.

The Ann Arbor News was first published in 1835 as the Michigan Argus and was known by a number of other names during its lifetime including The Ann Arbor Courier, The True Democrat and The Daily Times.

(c) 2009 AFP

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