By Brent Lang
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - "Thank you Boston. Good night and good luck."
With that tweet and a nod to Edward R. Murrow's famous send-off, The Boston Phoenix dropped the curtain on 47 years as Beantown's alt weekly of record.
In a statement, Phoenix publisher Stephen M. Mindich cited declines in advertising revenue as the reason the paper will be shuttered. WFNX.com, the company's internet radio station, will also close, but Mindich said that the company will keep the Providence Phoenix and the Portland Phoenix open as long as they remain "financially viable."
"I cannot find the words to express how sad a moment this is for me, and I know, for you as well, so I won't try," Mindich wrote in a letter to staff that was later posted on the paper's website.
He added: "What I can and will say is I am extremely proud, as all of you should be, of the highest standards of journalism we have set and maintained throughout the decades in all of our areas of coverage and the important role we have played in driving political and socially progressive and responsible agendas; in covering the worlds of arts and entertainment, food and fashion - always with a critical view, while at the same time promoting their enormous importance in maintaining a healthy society; and in advocating for the recognition and acceptance of a wide range of lifestyles that are so valuable for a vibrant society."
Over the course of its nearly five decades in business, the paper won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, as well as several New England Press Association awards. Its final print edition will be released on Friday and its March 22 online issue will be its final one.
As a New England native, the Phoenix was essential reading whenever I would travel to Boston on the commuter rail. The coverage was incisive and witty, and the whole ink-stained production just had a coolness to it that my staid hometown newspaper couldn't match. It was the same feeling I got talking to the hipsters who ran my local record store (another relic from the pre-Internet era): a chance to benefit from the insights of people steeped in the best of film and music, who were as well versed in Godard as they were in hip-hop, in a way I could only aspire to be.
On Twitter, media figures were quick to express their shock and sadness over the Boston Phoenix's demise and to take stock of the sorry state of print-journalism.
"Sad to hear about the end of @BostonPhoenix," New York Times Film Critic A.O. Scott tweeted. "Discovered so many great writers there in my New England years."
While BuzzFeed correspondent Kate Aurthur asked: "Can someone do a Kickstarter for the Boston Phoenix, which isn't owned by a megacorporation and/or starring/created by the rich? Thanks."
Dan Kennedy, the paper's former media columnist and a contributor, confessed he was too sad to write much, but did blog, "It was the most formative experience of my career.
Without the Phoenix, I can't imagine what I'd be doing today - PR for some politician? Ugh."