El Paso newspapers to end JOA

Mon, October 06, 1997 by Rich Boehne

CINCINNATI, Ohio - The El Paso Herald-Post, a six-day afternoon newspaper, will publish its final edition on Saturday, Oct. 11, The E. W. Scripps Company, owner of the paper, announced today.The closing of the Herald-Post will end a joint operating agreement between Scripps and Gannett Co., owner of the El Paso Times, which manages the printing, marketing and distribution of both El Paso daily newspapers. The El Paso Times will continue to publish seven days a week in the morning.Scripps attributed its decision to close the Herald-Post to steep and continuing declines in circulation. Today, the Herald-Post has a daily circulation of only about 18,000, compared to more than 31,000 in 1986.The El Paso contract between Scripps and Gannett, which was scheduled to run until 2015, is being terminated. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. "Sadly, the Herald-Post's continuing and dramatic circulation decline left Scripps with no choice but to face reality," said Alan M. Horton, The E. W. Scripps Company's senior vice president for newspapers. "The dedicated staff produced a very good newspaper, but that market will no longer support an afternoon edition." The Herald-Post currently has 35 employees. The newspaper traces its roots to the El Paso Herald, which published its first edition in 1881. In 1922 Scripps launched the El Paso Post, and in 1931 Scripps purchased The Herald and began publishing the combined Herald-Post. Five years later, the Herald-Post and the El Paso Times joined their business and production operations, but maintained separate editorial products. The two newspapers have published under this arrangement for the past 61 years.The E. W. Scripps Company operates nine television stations; daily newspapers in 16 markets (including El Paso); United Media, a worldwide syndicator and licensor of news features and comics; two television production companies, Scripps Howard Productions and Cinetel Productions; and the Home & Garden Television network. Scripps has announced an agreement to acquire the daily newspapers now operated by Harte-Hanks Communications and a separate agreement to acquire controlling interest in The Food Network from Belo Communications.