On Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, if you stopped by TucsonCitizen.com, you would have seen a note from someone at Gannett informing visitors that the website will soon become an archive of the former newspaper's articles.
Mentioned briefly in the second of four paragraphs of the announcement was that the Citizen had existed as a "web site compendium of blogs written by local citizens" for the last four years. And with that, another chapter of the strange trip of the Tucson Citizen came to an end.
The ending of this chapter in the history of the Tucson Citizen wasn't super surprising to me. Even if my employer Wick Communications had not successfully wooed Mark Evans over to run Inside Tucson Business, it appeared Gannett wasn't all that concerned about running a local media outlet of any form for awhile. They cash their checks from their bizarre joint operating agreement with the Star, so what else matters? Apparently, they found a way to weasel out of even running a placeholder in that space, so why bother with even the most minimal effort?
I didn't visit TucsonCitizen.com all that often personally, but the well-meaning and sincere contributors to that site deserved better. Apparently, to Gannett, years of providing content for their company without pay deserved little more than a cursory email. No one to contact, no answer about where their content went or if they could retrive it somehow. Just a form letter. Media companies aren't really percieved all that well these days, as shrinking staffs and budgets often mean the services we provide to our respective communities have been reduced, and this sort of jerkish corporate dismissiveness doesn't help. Would it have hurt anyone to provide some notice? Let the bloggers say goodbye to their loyal readers? Provide an opportunity to port their content to another site, if they chose to? I can't see the downside, but some VP of something or other at Gannett clearly did.
If only the Tucson Citizen brand were owned by someone who at least gave lip service to caring about the city the paper represented. On the other hand, if it were, there might not have ever been a blog site and we might still be a city with two daily newspapers.