Citing the downturn in the economy and inability to compete with a chain that has cut its advertising and subscription prices to the bone for the next year, The Carleton Free Press today announced it is suspending publication.
Today’s paper will be the last.
“We have tried everything,” said publisher Ken Langdon. “Our staff has been heroic, right down to the last person. We’ve got a good paper. We’ve earned a place in the fabric of Carleton County, but in the end we simply cannot compete with Irvings’ financial power.
“Brunswick News can afford to drop a few million dollars here to get the Bugle-Observer’s monopoly back and the Irving chain’s manager is willing to do what it takes here to discourage any others who might take heart from our success to compete in other New Brunswick markets,”
Langdon said three factors converged in the last few weeks to create insurmountable problems for the paper. One was the market crash and the fallout on the local economy. The other was the cost of adding a second paper on Fridays, which the FreePress felt it had to do to compete. The third was a Bugle-Observer announcement that it was cutting its ad prices in half for the next year and it’s per issue price from $1.25 to 25 cents. (This week it offered a year-long special buy at 29 per cent of its regular ad rate.)
“The last few weeks have been harrowing,” said Langdon. “We have wracked our brains to find a way to save the paper but we can’t alter the numbers.
“Big bucks have prevailed.”
FreePress editor Bob Rupert said the death of the “little paper that could” is a bitter pill to swallow.
“We feel badly for our readers, we feel badly for our advertisers and we feel badly for a community that really needs an honest paper with the courage to publish all of the news—even if it hurts,” said Rupert.
“Since Day One we have been warned that Brunswick News would stop at nothing to get back its stranglehold on this market and that’s exactly what has happened.
“So we are going down today, but we can hold our heads high. We tried to bring an independent voice to Carleton County and for a while we were winning. The closer we got to victory the more Brunswick News spent to stop us.
“What is really sad here is that our employees lose their jobs. We’ve raised a family here. The loss is personal.”
The Carleton FreePress
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