Albuquerque Tribune to cease publication

Wed, February 20, 2008 by Tim Stautberg

CINCINNATI - The Albuquerque Tribune will publish its final edition on Saturday, Feb. 23.

The decision to close the newspaper follows a seven-month effort by The E. W. Scripps Company to sell The Tribune.

Scripps notified The Tribune's 38 editorial employees today of the decision to discontinue publication. Tribune employees will receive severance packages, including outplacement services and a limited health care subsidy.

"The loss of The Albuquerque Tribune is profoundly sad for the community, its dedicated staff and all of those great journalists who have contributed over the years to the newspaper's outstanding reputation for editorial independence and excellence," said Rich Boehne, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Scripps.  "As The Tribune passes into history we take some solace in the knowledge that Albuquerque and New Mexico are better places to live today thanks to the newspaper's commitment to community service."

The decision to close The Tribune will end the nation's oldest joint operating agreement.

Since 1933 The Tribune has been published as part of a joint operating agreement with The Albuquerque Journal and its parent company, Journal Publishing Co.  Journal Publishing has been responsible for all of the business operations of The Tribune, including advertising and subscription sales, production and distribution.

Scripps and Journal Publishing shared the combined profits generated by The Journal and The Tribune.  Under a new agreement with Journal Publishing, Scripps will continue as a partner in the Albuquerque Publishing Co., which directs and manages the operations of The Journal newspaper.

The Journal will continue to be published in the mornings, seven days a week. The Tribune is published in the afternoons, Monday through Saturday.

Scripps in August 2007 announced that it was seeking to sell or discontinue publication of The Tribune after determining that the Albuquerque newspaper market could no longer economically support a separate afternoon publication.

Paid circulation of the afternoon Tribune, which stood at 42,000 in 1988, has been in persistent decline for more than two decades. The Tribune's daily paid circulation has declined to about 10,000 copies compared with The Journal's paid circulation of 106,000 daily and 145,000 Sunday.

Scripps acquired The Tribune in 1923 from its founder, Carlton Cole "Carl" Magee. Borrowing a phrase from Dante, Magee had adopted the slogan "Give Light and People Will Find Their Own Way." After it was acquired, Scripps adopted Magee's slogan, for all of its newspapers.

The Tribune is an award-winning newspaper with a rich journalistic tradition. Eileen Welsome, while reporting for The Tribune, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for a series of stories that related the experiences of Americans who had been used unknowingly in government radiation experiments nearly 50 years earlier.

The Tribune also was a Pulitzer finalist in 1993 and 1996 and was a first-place winner in the 1998 and 2001 National Headliner Awards.

About Scripps

The E. W. Scripps Company (www.scripps.com) is a diverse and growing media enterprise with interests in national cable networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television stations, interactive media, and licensing and syndication.

The company's portfolio of media properties includes: Scripps Networks, with such brands as HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living and Great American Country; daily and community newspapers in 16 markets and the Washington-based Scripps Media Center, home to the Scripps Howard News Service; 10 broadcast TV stations, including six ABC-affiliated stations, three NBC affiliates and one independent; Scripps Interactive Media, including leading online search and comparison shopping services, Shopzilla and uSwitch; and United Media, a leading worldwide licensing and syndication company that is the home of PEANUTS, DILBERT and approximately 150 other features and comics.

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