Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Los Alamos to lose local newspaper and radio station Sun.

Los Alamos, N.M. (Wikipedia map)
Los Alamos, a historic community of 12,000 in New Mexico, will lose its only paid print newspaper and its major community radio station on Sunday. The coincidental announcements draw attention to not only the economic pain the pandemic has caused local businesses, but the increasing importance of public-notice ads to newspapers.

After nearly 60 years in print, the Los Alamos Monitor announced Monday that it will close at the end of the week. Landmark Community Newspapers, which has owned the now twice-weekly paper since 1979, told the staff Friday, The Associated Press reports.

"Landmark President Mike Abernathy said the staff has worked hard to produce a quality newspaper but that their efforts weren’t enough to overcome economic challenges that have worsened in the face of the coronavirus pandemic," AP reports. "Officials also pointed to diminishing community support for the newspaper, noting a decision by local government officials to send their legal advertising to a free-newspaper competitor."

That points up the recently increased importance of public-notice ads to newspapers, especially during the pandemic, which has reduced commercial advertising, said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, publisher of The Rural Blog.

The Monitor's shuttering adds to the more than 50 small newsrooms in the U.S. that have closed or merged in 2020, mostly rural weeklies, Kristen Hare reports for Poynter, drawing on research by the University of North Carolina's Penny Abernathy.

Meanwhile, Los Alamos AM/FM station KRSN announced Aug. 11 that it also will close Aug. 30.

KRSN started in 1945 as part of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb, which was accomplished at Los Alamos. It has become a community staple over the past 70 years, announcing local news, weather, sports and other programming, the online Los Alamos Reporter reports. David and Gillian Sutton, who have owned and operated it for the past 15 years, said the pandemic is to blame: "With the cancellation of high-school sports, events, the closure of small businesses and the struggles of those remaining, KRSN can no longer raise the advertising revenues it takes to run your free to you community radio station."

Both the Monitor and KRSN are for sale, so it's possible that buyers may resurrect them. In the meantime, the community's main source of local news will come from two free online-only publications, the Reporter and the Los Alamos Daily Post.

1 comment:

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This was a great station.