Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023 was the last print day for three of the largest newspapers in Alabama.
The Alabama Media Group stopped printing The Birmingham News, Mobile’s Press-Register, and the The Huntsville Times. The end of the print era for the dead-tree editions of the newspapers had been announced in December. The newspaper group had already cut publishing the print edition of these newspapers to three times a week since 2012. The three have moved to all digital content.
All of the final editions had the same front page, with a letter from Editor-In-Chief Kelly Ann Scott and group President Tom Bates, thanking thanks the communities for their support these many years.
The Birmingham News was first published on March 14, 1888, by founder and managing editor Rufus N. Rhodes, who got the newspaper up and running with an $800 capital investment.
The Mobile Press-Register was founded in 1813, and is Alabama’s oldest newspaper. From 1997 to 2006, it was known as the Mobile Register.
The Huntsville Times was founded as the Huntsville Daily Times by Jacob Emory Pierce in 1910.
The number of print newspapers has dropped by more than 25% since 2005. The number of journalists working for print newspapers is down by 59%, since 2006, according to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
“Newspapers are continuing to vanish at a rapid rate. An average of more than two a week are disappearing. Since 2005, the country has lost more than a fourth of its newspapers (2,500) and is on track to lose a third by 2025. Even though the pandemic was not the catastrophic ‘extinction-level event’ some feared, the country lost more than 360 newspapers between the waning pre-pandemic months of late 2019 and the end of May 2022. All but 24 of those papers were weeklies, serving communities ranging in size from a few hundred people to tens of thousands. Most communities that lose a newspaper do not get a digital or print replacement. The country has 6,380 surviving papers: 1,230 dailies and 5,150 weeklies,” the report said last June.