The Philadelphia Bulletin, a conservative weekday paper with a small but loyal following, shut down abruptly yesterday, idling 25 workers.
This is actually the second time a Bulletin in Philadelphia has closed. The first time was in 1982, but Thomas Rice bought up the name and relaunched the Bulletin as “Philadelphia’s Family Paper” in 2004.
By most accounts, the new Bulletin struggled from the start. Staffers said paychecks were often late. Ads were scarce. Critics complained of questionable fact-checking and a tendency for the Bulletin to select wire service stories that cast liberals in a poor light.
The Bulletin retained its predecessor’s famous slogan, “In Philadelphia Nearly Everybody Reads the Bulletin,” but that stretched the truth. The paper claimed a circulation of 100,000, but the numbers weren’t audited and staffers said they didn’t know how many copies were actually paid for. Columnist Herb Denenberg says he’s never actually seen a copy.
The Bulletin struggled in a hostile environment and a market that’s barely able to support two daily papers, let alone three. In that respect, the story is reminiscent of the New York Sun, a weekday paper serving Wall Street that shut down last October.
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