Since about June 2009, the Tucson Citizen hosted community bloggers in place of its print edition. Jonathan DuHamel was one of them. Last year, his Wryheat blog had 488,242 unique hits. Apparently, that’s all gone now, said DuHamel.
The Citizen bloggers, who loyally shared their talents with the Southern Arizona community and freely provided content to the Citizen, received only this email message from Jessie Menard of Gannett:
Jan. 31, 2014
Gannett Co. Inc. announced today that tucsoncitizen.com will become a site for the archives of the Tucson Citizen. More than 200,000 articles dating to 1993 will be free and searchable.
The Tucson Citizen, which ended its print edition in 2009, has been a web site compendium of blogs written by local citizens and provided links to Gannett news content.
“We are pleased to continue tucsoncitizen.com as an important community resource for Tucsonans, who want to research the history and traditions of their city,” said Kate Marymont, senior vice president/news for the Community Publishing Division.
The redesigned tucsoncitizen.com archives will be available in several days.
Gannett and Lee Enterprises Inc. will continue to be partners in TNI Partners. Lee publishes the Arizona Daily Star.
DuHamel asked Anthony Gimino, who had taken over TucsonCitizen.com from Mark Evans, if this meant that Gannett was dropping the community bloggers. Gimino replied, “We are all out, including me.”
Gannett gave them no warning. However, when Mark Evans jumped ship to take over Inside Tucson Business, another soon-expected-to-be-dissolved tabloid in the Wicke publishing family, nearly everyone knew that the Citizen would be gone. Most expected its demise to come before the end of 2013.
Evans had taken over ITB from Dave Hatfield, who jumped ship initially for a position within the Pima County government. Hatfield ended up instead with the Airport Authority, reportedly leaving room in the vast Pima County Public Relations department for one more refugee of pulp.
The Tucson Citizen, under the leadership of Evans, had devolved into a mish mash of mostly ideologues, who had nothing but time and a computer on their hands. The value, according to Evans, was the SEO the Tucson Citizen brought to the table, due to the original content uploaded on an almost hourly basis, by those anxious to share their thoughts for free.
The content did not to have any literary or social value, according to Evans. As a result, excellent writers, like DuHamel, Gimino, Andy Morales, and Carolyn Classen, were sandwiched between an angry atheist, who could bash the faithful on a daily basis with reckless abandon, and Dee Dee Blasé, who used the Citizen to create the illusion that she speaks for all Latinos.
For years, the City of Tucson thrived due to the exposure brought by the competition between the Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Citizen. The two newspapers offered different perspectives and acted as the Fourth Estate constantly shedding light on inner workings and sometimes bad dealings of government officials. When the Tucson Citizen went out of print, the Arizona Daily Star lost its need for a competitive edge. That loss and the increasing use of the internet for information and the increasing cost of pulp, forced the Star and other publications to began laying off true investigative reporters, like the Star’s Rob O’Dell.
Due to the replacement of investigative reporters like O’Dell with political pundits, pulp is taking its hit across the county. The Arizona Daily Star is down to a skeleton crew and like the Star, most newspapers are barely staying alive on Sunday coupon insert revenue, car dealer ads and public notices.
Editor’s note: American Daily Independent News Network is constantly seeking citizen journalists to join our network. We do not pay for opinion… everyone has those; however, we do pay for quality reporting in our continuing effort to shed light on the government officials, who are supposed to represent us. If you are interested, send a writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Duhamel can be found here regularly at the Arizona Daily Independent and also at his blog Wry Heat.