(Adds background, job cuts at other newspapers)
SAN FRANCISCO Feb 20 The Albuquerque Tribune
will publish its last edition on Saturday after owner EW
Scripps Co (SSP.N) said it found no buyers for the paper, the
latest casualty in the beleaguered newspaper business.
Scripps said it notified the Tribune's 38 editorial
employees on Wednesday of the closure and offered them
severance packages. Circulation at the New Mexico paper had
dwindled to about 10,000 from 42,000 in 1988, Scripps said.
The decision ends the nation's oldest joint operating
agreement, under which the Tribune was published afternoons
Monday through Saturday and the larger Albuquerque Journal was
the daily morning newspaper, Scripps said.
"The loss of the Albuquerque Tribune is profoundly sad for
the community, its dedicated staff and all of those great
journalists" who worked there, said Rich Boehne, chief
operating officer at Scripps.
The closing comes as Bay Area News Group, the San
Francisco-area publisher controlled by MediaNews Group Inc,
offers buyouts to about 1,100 employees to cut costs. Bay Area
News Group's papers include the San Jose Mercury News, the
Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune.
The newspaper industry has been in a steep decline as
advertisers switch to the Internet. The New York Times Co
(NYT.N) said last week it would cut 100 newsroom jobs at its
flagship newspaper as it girds for a weaker U.S. economy.
The Albuquerque Journal, owned by Journal Publishing Co,
will continue to be published daily and Sundays in the
mornings, Scripps said in a statement.
Scripps said last August it was looking for a buyer for the
Tribune or would cease its publication after determining the
Albuquerque newspaper market could no longer support a separate
The Journal has a paid circulation of 106,000 daily and
The Tribune, which Scripps bought in 1923 from founder
Carlton Cole "Carl" Magee, has won numerous awards including a
Pulitzer Prize for reporter Eileen Welsome in 1994 for a series
about Americans used unknowingly in government radiation
experiments nearly 50 years earlier.
The paper was a Pulitzer finalist in 1996 and a first-place
winner in the 1998 and 2001 National Headliner Awards.
Cincinnati-based Scripps operates daily and community
newspapers in 16 markets and the Scripps Media Center, which
includes the Scripps Howard News Service. It also owns
network-affiliated television stations and brands such as HGTV,
Food Network, DIY Network and Fine Living.
(Reporting by Philipp Gollner, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)