Tucson Citizen to print final edition Saturday


The Tucson Citizen, which covered the famed "Gunfight at the OK Corral" and other notable events as the oldest newspaper in the US state of Arizona, is printing its final edition on Saturday.

Tucson Citizen publisher Gannett Co. said the newspaper would become an online only publication focusing on opinion pieces after the final edition rolls off the presses.

"Dramatic changes in our industry combined with the difficult economy -- particularly in this region -- mean it is no longer viable to produce two daily printed newspapers in Tucson," Gannett executive Bob Dickey said.

"We are pleased that the Citizen's website will continue its role as a place for a separate community conversation," Dickey added in a statement.

The Tucson Citizen reached far fewer readers than its rival, the Arizona Daily Star, and like other US newspapers has been grappling with falling print advertising revenue, declining circulation and free news online.

"A newspaper doesn't close, it dies and the death leaves a hole in the community," Tucson Citizen interim editor Jennifer Boice said.

Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the United States and the owner of USA Today, purchased the Tucson Citizen in 1976 and announced plans to shut it down earlier this year if it could not find a buyer.

Most of its 65-member staff will be let go and the newspaper's website,, will not provide news or sports reporting, focusing only on opinion items, the Tucson Citizen said.

Founded in 1870, the newspaper reported on the 1881 gunbattle at the OK Corral in nearby Tombstone, Arizona, the raids of Mexico's Pancho Villa, the 1934 arrest of bank robber John Dillinger and other major events in the region.

Its demise comes one day after a newspaper in the state of Michigan, the Ann Arbor News, founded in 1835, announced that it would publish its final edition in July.

Two other major newspapers folded earlier this year -- the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in Seattle, Washington, which stopped publishing a print edition to go online only.

The Christian Science Monitor also went Web-only this year after 100 years in print.

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