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Baltimore Examiner Closing

The Baltimore Examiner, a newspaper launched in 2006 by billionaire Philip Anschutz, is closing, a victim of the ongoing recession, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Some of the Examiner's staffers will migrate to its sister Washington Examiner, while others will be laid off.

The tabloid-sized newspapers are distributed free.

The Washington Examiner was launched in 2005.

Here is part of a letter sent from Ryan McKibben, chief executive of Clarity Media Group, parent company of the Examiner papers, obtained by The Ticker:

"Today I met with employees of the Baltimore Examiner to explain that Clarity Media Group had reached the unfortunate conclusion that it must close the Baltimore newspaper. This very difficult decision comes after several months of very active, but unsuccessful efforts to find a buyer for the newspaper.

I am personally writing the employees of the Washington Examiner because I want you to know precisely why we took this action and to reassure you about the future of your newspaper and other Clarity Media Group operations.

In more than thirty months since we launched the Baltimore Examiner it has developed into an able newspaper organization. However, one of the primary business assumptions that drove establishing a Baltimore paper - that we could develop strong revenue synergies between Baltimore Examiner and the Washington Examiner - did not materialize to the levels we had projected.

We have been patient investors for almost two and one-half years. However, as this nation fell into a deep and serious recession, it became clear to us that the projected revenue synergies that were a key ingredient in our business plan would not be realized in the foreseeable future. As I told our Baltimore colleagues, without significant synergies between the two markets it is not possible to maintain two major daily newspapers within a distance of 50 miles and do justice to both publications. Therefore, going forward, our concentration in this region will be on the Washington Examiner; on the West Coast, it will be on the San Francisco Examiner.

In the case of the Washington Examiner, you have proven the success of our unique model. You have developed a strong newspaper organization with credible reporting, presented in tight readable articles, while maintaining a sharp focus on local news, consistently scooping your newspaper competition. The recent shift of home delivery to two days a week while expanding single-copy circulation has also been successful. We’ve become more efficient while growing advertising revenue.

Beyond proving the success of our model, the Washington Examiner has gone further, to become a strong and credible chronicler of national politics and public policy. Your balanced and professional reporting of events in our nation’s capital, together with a growing and robust opinion section, has resulted in a scrappy, aggressive newspaper that is gaining attention and respect.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 29, 2009; 11:17 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Baltimore Examiner, Washington Examiner  
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"The tabloid-sized newspapers are distributed free."

Maybe they should charge for them.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | January 29, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

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