Houston Press to cease print publication, continuing only online after releasing a number of employees

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The Houston Press, a free alternative weekly news and entertainment newspaper, recently announced it will cease its print operations.

A drop in advertising revenues and a decline in oil prices is reportedly causing the paper to reduce the number of pages the paper printed each week; the paper is also said to be a victim of Hurricane Harvey, with many of its advertisers closed or curtailed after the storm.

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Despite the closures, the Press’ parent company Voice Media Group announced the paper would still be operating as an online-only news outlet.

“The loss in print revenue we suffered as a result of Harvey and the time it might conceivably take for that print business to come back was the final straw,” Voice Media Group publisher Stuart Folb said in a statement. “Thankfully we’ll be able to continue covering Houston with a streamlined approach online.”

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The Houston Press reportedly started in 1989 as an independent alternative weekly newspaper; in 1993, New Times Media purchased the Houston Press and made it an affiliate with similar such publications across the country.

In 2005, New Times purchased Village Voice Media, which, according to records, changed its name to Voice Media Group in 2012.

The move from print to online-only forced the paper to lay off almost its entire staff, according to editor-in-chief Margaret Downing; instead of staff writers, the Houston Press website will now depend on freelance writers for much of its material.

“A lot of good people here will no longer have jobs at the Houston Press and that for me is the saddest and most painful part,” Downing wrote in a piece announcing the cessation of print operations.

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Over its 28 year history in print, the Houston Press won several journalism awards, including awards related to the paper’s coverage of Hurricane Harvey.

The paper is also known for its “Best of Houston” issue, which recognizes local politicians, sports figures, entertainers and businesses for their contributions to the community.

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