Press of Atlantic City will expand weekly newspapers in three cities, but close six others

Atlantic City Press is trying something new: an expanded community newspaper that will be sent to every home in Linwood, Northfield and Somers Point.

“It’s going to be a true hyperlocal publication, focused on government and business and what’s happening in local schools,” said Buzz Keough, press editor, in an outspoken manner. post on the website of his newspaper.

But in order to focus on these three municipalities, they are closing their other six weekly newspapers in Atlantic and Cape May counties. This means the end of The Current and Gazette publications which reach Absecon, Brigantine, Cape May, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Galloway, Hamilton Township, Longport, Margate, Middle, Ocean City, Port Republic, Upper and Wildwood.

“We don’t take this decision lightly,” Keough said. “But in recent years, the weeklies have ceased to be an independent news operation and have come to rely largely on press releases, submitted content and republished daily articles that have appeared at the origin in The Press of Atlantic City.”

Keough acknowledged that “advertising support for free weeklies has declined, as has their profitability”.

“The signs have been clear for some time that something new is needed,” he said.

The number of newspapers in print in the United States has fallen 28% since 2005 and the number of print journalists has fallen 59% since 2006, according to a State of Local News Report from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, published last month.

Annual newspaper revenues fell from $50 billion in 2006 to $21 billion, a decline of 58%.

Since 2019, 360 printed newspapers have closed, or about two per week. Staff photographers are down about 80%

“This is a crisis for our democracy and our society,” said Penelope Muse Abernathyvisiting professor at Medill and lead author of the report.

Atlantic City Community News Editor Delaney Crawford Press. (Photo: Delaney Crawford/Facebook).

The new project will be led by Delaney Crawford, Press community news editor and recent Hood College graduate. Keough said she has been attending local government meetings since July.

“By refocusing our attention on a more hyper-local newspaper, with its own staff and resources, we are building the next generation of sustainable local news,” Keough said. “This next-generation journal will gain community support, become a ‘must-read’ publication, and serve as a model that can be repeated over and over again in other communities.”

Keough’s decision appears to contrast with business decisions made by Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the United States, including nine New Jersey-based dailies.

Gannett owns 31 weeklies across the state, from Westwood to Hammonton, most of which have been gutted and weakened in recent years.

Gannett recently announced a $54 million loss in the second quarter of 2022 and launched another round of cost-cutting measures, including layoffs nationwide and in New Jersey.

The Atlantic City press was owned by Berkshire Hathaway until 2020 when another newspaper chain, Lee Enterprises, bought them. Lee seems to be on a stronger financial footing than Gannett.