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After 50 years, Syracuse New Times stops publication

Syracuse New Times Facebook
The Syracuse New Times published their last issue this week.

After 50 years, the Syracuse New Times, one of the oldest, weekly alternative newspapers in the country, printed its last issue this week. Its publisher said declining ad revenue and competition from giant tech companies, led to the decision to shut it down.

The New Times features political interviews, sports, theater, music and restaurant reviews, plus a calendar of local events. It’s been a free resource for many in the community until about three months ago, when publisher and C.E.O. Bill Brod, who bought the paper in 2010, switched to a paid subscription model.

"It started fast, it plateaued, and we never got past a ceiling and had a trajectory where it was continuing to grow," Brod said. "Everything just flattened out. A significant question is being placed in front of the consuming public and that is, where do you get your news from? Where do you find a source you can trust? Is the public willing to fund a credible, honest and trust-worthy journalism organization or are they content to get their news from social media, and hope somebody is right?”

The New Times is online, but Brod said digital revenue alone is not enough for a successful business model. He said people are going to have to decide if they're willing to pay for fact-checked journalism.

"Because Facebook and Google and Instagram and Snapchat are not it," Brod said.   

Brod said he is working to hold onto the New Times staff through his other businesses. The New Times' sister publication, Family Times magazine, will continue on and remain the promotional leader for events like the best of Syracuse awards and the annual street painting downtown during arts week. Ticketing from CNYTix.com and Spinnaker promotional products will also stay open.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.