The OC Weekly closed its doors the day before Thanksgiving, after a prestigious 24-year run.
Founded in 1995 by Will Swaim, OC Weekly had been providing Orange County and Los Angeles with weekly news on politics, investigative reporting, culture, food and personalities. The publication was later purchased in 2016 by Duncan McIntosh. The last documented number on the weekly print readership was listed at 357,793, which was higher than the online readership at 238,871.
OC Weekly’s Twitter account announced the demise in a tweet saying that the owners, Duncan McIntosh Co., will be shutting down the newspaper.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, a text was sent by an editor of OC Weekly to all staff for an important meeting. In that meeting, more than 20 editors and staff were let go with layoff packets that had information about unemployment without severance.
“We headed into the holiday weekend unemployed,” said Gabriel San Román, a staff writer who was part of the layoff.
In a statement to LAist/KPCC, McIntosh mentions selling the company to an unnamed businessman.
“We hope to have more details after the holiday about the expected change of ownership,” said McIntosh.
The dissipating fate of newsrooms is mostly due to rising technology and online news that has created a decline in newspapers. Online news sources outnumber the attention of the population, which is amounting to more and more newspapers closing down.
The article by Tim Adams, from the Guardian, “The slow death of the great American newsroom,” and Will Steacy’s photo project entitled “Deadline,” reports on this alarming decline. The stories show empty newsrooms and start the conversation on the technological revolution and its effects on journalism.
“In the past decade, as a percentage, more print journalists have lost their jobs than workers in any other significant American industry,” said Adams.
Newspaper rooms are closing left and right, leaving behind broken dreams and jobless journalists. The loss is not only in small companies but also in large companies. Some publications have changed to monthly instead of weekly publications, like Chicago’s New City in 2017.
Sadly many companies do not make the weekly to monthly change and just get cut off abruptly like East Bay Express, which laid off all of their editorial staff in early 2019. The decline is seen overseas as well, with a third of editorial jobs in newspapers being lost in Britain.
“My internship under @GustavoArellano at @OCWeekly in 2011 was a formative journalism experience. I first learned to embrace deadlines there, and I came of age as a young food writer with publishing privileges. I’m sad it won’t be there for future generations of POC writers,” said Javier Cabral.
OC Weekly has been critically acclaimed and admired for its legacy and long-lasting investigative reports, provocative coverage and commentary on society. During its run, the publication won awards from the Los Angeles Press Club and Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards.
The publication has also been praised for its inclusive environment, acting as a gateway for young writers of diverse backgrounds to start their careers.