In March of 2013 the Boston Phoenix unexpectedly shut down, leaving many, like me, who served as its music editor, out of work. But the alt-weekly’s parent company, Phoenix Media Communications, decided to leave its two sister publications, in Portland (Maine) and Providence (Rhode Island), open for business.
Everett Finkelstein, Phoenix Media’s chief operating officer, said in a statement that “the unhappy reality of today’s media world is that the continual shrinkage of print advertising revenue and the increasing costs of producing an award-winning newspaper such as the Providence Phoenix made this no longer economically viable.”
The Providence Phoenix was founded in 1979 as the NewPaper. Phoenix Media acquired it in 1988 and it was renamed the Providence Phoenix five years later.
The statement did not mention what would happen to the third paper in the company’s stable, the Portland Phoenix of Maine.
PMCC publisher Stephen Mindich explained the decision in a memo to staff.
“About a year and a half ago when the decision to shutter the Boston Phoenix was made, it was my deep desire to keep publishing the Providence Phoenix and keep its extraordinary legacy alive,” Mindich began.
“Sadly, after making massive budgetary adjustments in order to trim the costs of operations to a level where we could at least financially break-even, while also ensuring we could keep the paper’s editorial quality at the exceptional level we all demanded – the raw reality of continued losses month after month finally had to be confronted. After an enormous amount of analysis looking for resolutions and growth opportunities, along with profound personal soul-searching, I have made the difficult decision that the time has come to close the Providence Phoenix,” he continued.