“Readership was never our problem. It was strong, and higher than ever when print and online were added together,” says Ed Petykiewicz, editor of the Ann Arbor News, the 174-year-old US newspaper, which printed its last edition this week, in a letter to readers.
“There has been a small undercurrent of community guilt because of our closing; that some of you let us down. That’s not the case. How could you have helped when we never told you that we were bleeding?
“Our problems were revenue and expenses. Too little revenue; too much expense. Knowing that newspapers across the country are struggling with the same issues doesn’t make it any easier.”
Petykiewicz describes the last four or five months at the paper as ‘akin to visiting a hospice daily’. But he urges readers to learn a lesson from the News’ fate:
“The business models for newspapers and credible online efforts are precarious. You’ll need to support them if you want to know what is going on. They’re the only ones who separate the self-serving spin by public officials from what is really happening.”