By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Contrarian Boston reports that The Sun is no longer shining in Lowell

The Sun left its iconic downtown headquarters quite a while ago, but it maintained offices in Lowell until recently. Photo (cc) 2014 by Dan Kennedy.

So where are the missing MediaNews Group dailies? Last week, I noted that Contrarian Boston couldn’t find any evidence that the Boston Herald had returned to its Braintree offices, two years after Northeastern journalism student Deanna Schwartz and I found that the Herald had decamped for The Sun in Lowell.

Now, in a follow-up, Mark Pickering reports for Contrarian Boston that The Sun is nowhere to be found, either. He writes:

For the city of Lowell, the disappearance of The Sun marks the end of an entire era. For decades, the publishers of such papers were local kings that often built impressive headquarters. And the papers were the prime way for residents to keep up with local news.

Pickering asks: Have the Herald and The Sun joined a number of other newspapers part of MediaNews Group, owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, that no longer have any newsrooms at all? The answer to that question is not entirely clear.

One story I’ve heard is that the Alden papers in Massachusetts have a warehouse in Westford. (Update: Or perhaps in Devens.) Papers are delivered from whatever printing plant they’re using these days before being trucked out. I’ve heard there are a few offices there that Alden journalists can use. But it appears that Alden journalists, for the most part, work at their homes except when they’re out reporting.

And let’s not forget that another MediaNews Group paper, the Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg, was deprived of its offices several years before the pandemic. That means that all three of the chain’s Massachusetts papers are operating without a proper newsroom.

Clarification: I’ve now noted in the caption that The Sun left its iconic downtown headquarters years ago.

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1 Comment

  1. Mark Laurence

    It’s Statement of Circulation time, when all publications using the USPS have to publish their names, addresses, and circulation numbers. I’ve watched these for years. The self-reported circulation numbers have often been about 10% higher than the Audit Bureau numbers, but those numbers no longer appear publicly except for Top 25-type lists. The Herald printed its statement Friday. They list an office at Suite 13, 1 Park Drive, Westford. They claim a print circulation of 16,919 for a recent Friday edition, down 15% from the 12 month average. They also claim a digital circulation of 19,569 on that date, down 23% from the 12 month average.

    The Globe prints separate statements for Sunday and Daily circulation. On Sunday, their statement showed a print circulation of 106,955, down 17% from the 12 month average. Their digital circulation on that Sunday was 287,227, up 4.5% from the 12 month average. Their Daily report has a circulation of 66,492 on a recent Friday, down 10% from the 12 month average. The digital number for that day was 279,938, up 6% from the 12 month average. Since the Globe digital subscriptions include Daily and Sunday, I’m guessing the small difference is just day-to-day changes between reporting periods for the two statements.

    It’s interesting to see the reported Herald digital circulation now outweighs the print edition, although it’s apparently dropping even faster than the print numbers and is far less than 10% of the Globe’s digital circulation.

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