YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — The only daily newspaper in Ohio’s ninth largest city announced Saturday it will permanently cease publication after 150 years of covering a once proud industrial powerhouse hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs decades ago.
The Vindicator, of Youngstown, had marked that anniversary earlier this week
In a letter to readers, Publisher Betty J.H. Brown Jagnow and general manager Mark Brown explained the decision was made because of “great financial hardships” and the inability to find a buyer. Its final edition will be Aug. 31.
Jagnow and Brown called the decision “gut wrenching.”
“We have been fighting against the tide of a changing newspaper business model and struggling to place The Vindicator on sound financial footing,” the letter said. “However, in spite of our best efforts, advertising and circulation revenues have continued to decline, and The Vindicator continues to operate at a loss.”
With the paper’s closure, Youngstown will join a growing number of cities and towns dubbed “news deserts” for the lack of local coverage. Newsroom employment has fallen by nearly half over the past 15 years across the U.S.
The Vindicator is the last daily paper in both Youngstown and northeast Ohio’s Mahoning County, the state’s 12th most populous county. Vindicator journalists won six first-place APME journalism awards this year and 18 in 2018.
In a letter Friday to employees of WFMJ-TV, Brown said the decision to shut down the newspaper would not affect the family owned television station. Brown said there are “no intentions” to sell the station.
Publisher James H. Odell launched the paper in 1869, shortly after the Civil War. It was purchased by William F. Maag, Sr. in 1887. His son, William F. Maag, Jr., took over as editor and publisher when his father died in 1924.
After the death of the younger Maag in 1968, his nephew, William Brown, served as publisher and president until his death in 1981. Jagnow, his widow, has been publisher and president since then. Mark Brown is their son.