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The Alt-Weekly Death Spiral Strikes Philadelphia

Philadelphia City Paper, remembered.
The Philadelphia City Paper newsroom.
The Philadelphia City Paper newsroom. Courtesy Emily Guendelsberger

Philadelphia City Paper will cease to exist on October 8, according to Wednesday’s announcement by Broad Street Media, the new owner of what it describes as the publication's "intellectual property." It was only after that article (which resembles a press release) was posted online at one of the company's outlets that City Paper's editorial staff actually found out—not by hearing from anyone in charge, but from a flood of texts from friends and requests for comment from other media outlets.  

The end always seemed around the corner during my roughly four years at City Paper, where I was a staff reporter until this spring. The page count had long since shrunk into the mid-double digits. Last summer, we were sold to the company that owns Metro, a free daily newspaper that in depth, style, and frequency of publication was our antithesis. Now Metro has turned over the paper to Broad Street Media, where it will be absorbed by the long-ago-eviscerated Philadelphia Weekly. I have no idea what that means except that City Paper editorial staff has been laid off, and that alarmingly, according to a post by my former colleagues, they expect the paper's web archives will "vanish along with us."