Chain with 14 AZ newspapers closing five of them

Here’s a news tidbit that hasn’t gotten much attention: Independent Newspapers, a group of 30 or so papers in Arizona, Delaware and Florida is closing five of it’s Arizona editions.

McKeand cited a combination of factors for the decision: residential sprawl, competition and shifting advertising trends.

“It was becoming more and more difficult to define ‘community’ in these markets,” McKeand said.

“We’re better off just taking these resources and really putting them toward the nine products we think are strong.”

No employee will be laid off but will be transferred to other newspapers.

I think there’s more to the story. For one thing, what the hell does “more difficult to define ‘community’ in these markets” mean? That sounds like utter non-sense to me. I done a lot of community journalism and lived in a lot of communities. The statement makes no sense. It sounds like somebody wasn’t trying very hard.

You get more nonsense from a story published by one of the closing papers:

The growth that has changed the Valley over the last 10 years has an unintended victim: the Chandler Independent.

Most newspaper companies would KILL to be in growth markets.

Newspaper employees who have fretted over the possibility that publishers would eliminate jobs and turn to “citizen journalists” instead, won’t find any comfort here:

Instead, Independent is encouraging residents to continue to use the community website at to disseminate news for their neighborhoods, including school briefs, sports items, and community group announcements.

INI has an unusual business model. Company directors aren’t allowed to personally benefit from their directorships. The company claims to reinvest its profits in its products, judging from its web sites, there’s no evidence of aggressively pursuing profits in order to improve the business. They just haven’t put many resources into the web, from what I can see.

I’m also skeptical of the no “lay offs” remark.

Like I said, I think there’s more to the story.

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