Back before computers ruled the day in newspaper offices, reporters would type -30- at the end of each story.
It was done to inform the typesetters that they had reached the end of the story.
Well … this is the end.
Friday is the final issue of the Prince George Free Press.
Aberdeen Publishing owner Bob Doull announced to staff Thursday that the Free Press will cease publishing as of May 1. The reason? Declining revenues.
“It’s not the fault of anyone at the paper,” he said. “We had budgeted for a loss, but it was worse than we had planned for. We did worse than last year. We just weren’t moving the needle in the right direction.”
He said the downturn in the Alberta economy has hurt the company overall, which will still have 11 newspapers after the Free Press closes.
The closure will affect 10 full time employees plus part time drivers and paper carriers. Severance packages will be offered to the full time employees, however, Doull says he may be able to relocate some to positions within Aberdeen Publishing.
The Prince George Free Press first hit the streets of Prince George on November 3, 1994.
It was founded by Black Press, which operated the newspaper until Doull’s Aberdeen Publishing purchased it, along with Kamloops This Week and the Merritt Herald, in October 2010. The Free Press started as a weekly newspaper but soon moved to publishing twice a week.
In June of 2013, as a cost-cutting measure, it returned to publishing once a week.
Doull said that Prince George, like most communities now, simply don’t support, economically, two newspapers.
“The upside for the community is they still have a daily newspaper,” he said.