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More Media Layoffs — Politicker Sites Go Dark


Published December 12, 2008 at 5:31 p.m.

It's been the buzz of the blogosphere today: Of the 17 state websites, 12 will be shuttered. Vermont is one of those sites, according to a Colorado newspaper.

The Colorado Independent reports that sites in New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire,Massachusetts and Pennsylvania will remain operating. Sites in Arizona, California, Colorado,Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Vermont andWashington state will disappear.

Here's what Owen Thomas at Gawker had to report:

At a holiday party Thursday night for the New York Observer— pizza and a keg in a conference room — Kushner gave a speech praisingPoliticker "despite what it has cost," an eyewitness tells us. If heplanned to cut those costs the next morning, he gave no indication. Butthe problem with Politicker isn't what it cost; it's how little moneyit made.

The problem was finding the advertising money to support all thosebureaus. Local reporters, thanks to newspaper cutbacks, are easy enoughto locate. But advertisers, especially advertisers willing to spendsmall amounts at high rates to reach tiny, localized audiences, arescarce. Building relationships with those advertisers takes time andmoney on its own — and may not always prove worth the investment. Acautionary tale for those who would supplant newspapers in their localcoverage: ink, paper, and printing presses aren't the only things wrongwith the newspaper business.

Atleast 70 percent of Politicker staffers nationwide have been laid off.Laid-off staffers lost their email access and posting rights within anhour of an early-morning conference call announcing the cuts, according to a report on The Stranger's staff blog, Slog.

For additional stories about Politicker's demise, check out