Black Press Media has shut down the Abbotsford/Mission Times, a little more than a month after purchasing the B.C. paper from Glacier Media. The company also took down the newspaper’s website and closed its Twitter account.
When asked why the company was shutting down a newspaper it considered a worthy purchase in October, Rick O’Connor, president and CEO of Black Media, told J-Source the newspaper was losing “too much revenue” and not making enough money on advertisements.
“The losses were far greater than we had expected,” he said. “We’re not miracle workers … there is only so much we can do.”
O’Connor said most of the Times staff took the severance package offered by Glacier Media, leaving only four of the original 13 staff. “You can’t do the same work when a significant majority is gone.” Black Press will discuss future options for the remaining staff within the company.
As part of the sale from Glacier Media, Black Press also purchased the Chilliwack Times, which O’Connor said continues to operate for now alongside its competitor, Chilliwack Progress. He would not, however, comment on its financial viability.
“It was our belief that it didn’t make sense for readers to receive two community newspapers in the Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack markets on the same publishing days with tremendous duplication of content,” said Randy Blair, president of the Black Press Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island divisions, in a statement. “In light of this, Black Press has harmonized publication days in the Chilliwack market so that the Chilliwack Times and the Chilliwack Progress will publish on different days.”
Black Press also owns the Abbotsford News, which will continue to publish.