MCALLEN, Texas – The Gannett news organization has closed The Edinburg Review and Valley Town Crier.
Local publisher Yvonne Gomez confirmed as much in a brief interview with The Rio Grande Guardian.
“Yesterday was our last publication. It is very sad,” Gomez via telephone last Thursday.
The Rio Grande Guardian had more questions for Gomez but there was interference on the line. She could not be reached after the first call.
Calls to Gannett’s media office were not returned at press time.
The offices for The Edinburg Review and Valley Town Crier were based in McAllen. A notice pinned to the office door said: “Our offices are permanently closed. Thanks for your preference and support!”
An unnamed staff member said: “All of this happened last Wednesday. I was on a Zoom meeting and they just told us, ‘hey, you are shutting down’. It came out of nowhere so our last publication was Wednesday.”
The staff member added: “It was a super brief meeting, less than ten minutes. They were basically saying our (advertising) numbers were not there. We took a big loss in revenue (with the coronavirus lockdown).”
Valley Town Crier largely covered McAllen. Wealthy McAllen attorney J. Gonzalez has been pumping money into some local newspapers during the coronavirus pandemic but not The Edinburg Review or Valley Town Crier.
UT-Rio Grande Valley journalism professor Dr. Gregory Selber said The Edinburg Review, in particular, has a long and storied history. He said the original Daily Review did not pull any punches. “It was well-known for its political bite,” he said.
Selber said the paper collapsed in the late 1990s. However, working with two newspaper executives, Selber worked to bring the paper back to life around 2005 and worked freelance on the paper’s sports pages.
“There was the original Daily Review and then we had the Indian Summer, as I call it,” Selber said. “When we brought it back we wanted to create a community news product. In our heart of hearts we knew it would be a tough row to hoe.”
Selber said that while a loss of advertising revenue caused by the coronavirus was likely the “tipping point,” the The Edinburg Review and Valley Town Crier were probably based on “a doomed model” to begin with.
“It was a great thing for a long time,” Selber said, noting that the two newspapers were a great place to start a career in journalism.
“For me it was a labor of love because it gave kids a chance to get started in journalism, and it gave the community a slice of life. It is a sad thing to see the papers close.”
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