The Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader published their final editions Saturday, victims of the unexpected effects of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Los Angeles Times announced Thursday the two newspapers would stop publishing, along with the La Canada Valley Sun, whose final edition will be published Thursday. The 14 staff members who work for those titles are being laid off with severance.
“A challenging business environment, including a decline in advertising revenue and the increasing cost of printing, has made it difficult to continue to support these publications,” Chris Argentieri, the president and chief operating officer of California Times, the parent company of the three newspapers, as well the Los Angeles Times, and Los Angeles Times executive editor Norman Pearlstine wrote in a letter sent to employees Thursday evening.
“While the business environment has been challenging for some time, it has become extremely so due to the unexpected effects of COVID-19, which have led to the closure.”
The Times, in a letter to readers, called it “a difficult business decision in a trying time for community newspapers compounded by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”
“The three titles, while journalistically sound, are operating at significant losses. Advertising has fallen off for several years, and each publication’s print circulation — paid and free combined — is about 5,000 copies at each of the three newspapers.”
The Glendale News-Press dates to 1905, and the Burbank Leader was founded in 1985, a successor to the Burbank Daily Review, which was founded in 1908. The La Canada Valley Sun was launched in April 1946.
The Times purchased the News-Press and Leader in 1993 and the Valley Sun in 2005. The papers became part of The Times Community News division. They were distributed for free at local businesses, in newspaper racks and to The Times home-delivery subscribers in those areas.
The two remaining Times Community News publications, the Daily Pilot and TimesOC, will continue publishing in Orange County.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, issued a statement saying he is “deeply worried that the loss of these three papers is being repeated all over the country in communities large and small. It has been going on for years, but the sudden onset of the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated these trends, and more and more places are becoming news deserts, without dedicated journalists to investigate corruption and tell local stories.
“This is a tremendous loss, and a threat to democracy,” Schiff said. “Though there are no easy answers, I believe it is important that Congress examine ways we can support local journalism of the sort the News-Press, the Leader and the Sun have practiced for many years.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: