- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2009

BALTIMORE | Less than three years after its launch as the city’s second daily newspaper, the Baltimore Examiner is shutting down, a victim of slower-than-expected ad sales.

Employees of the free tabloid were informed of the closure Thursday morning. The Examiner will publish its last issue Feb. 15. About 90 people will lose their jobs, said Jim Monaghan, a spokesman for Clarity Media Group, the paper’s Denver-based parent company.

“We had good people there. We thought we had a good paper,” Mr. Monaghan said. “It’s a disappointment that it didn’t work out.”

Clarity, owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, also publishes Examiner papers in Washington and San Francisco. Ryan McKibben, Clarity’s CEO, told Baltimore staffers that the company expected “strong revenue synergies” between the Baltimore and Washington papers, but those did not materialize.

Clarity had been searching for a buyer for the Baltimore paper for months, Mr. McKibben said.

“We didn’t get the depth of national advertising that we would have liked. We thought, with the combination of two markets, we would have been able to do that,” Mr. Monaghan said. “After 30 months of trying, it became clear during the current recession that advertising is not increasing.”

The announcement “came as a complete surprise” in the newsroom, Examiner reporter Luke Broadwater said. He said the newsroom staff had been cut in about half through attrition, but he did not know how dire the paper’s finances were.

When it launched in April 2006, the Baltimore Examiner was delivered six days a week to homes in affluent urban and suburban neighborhoods. Clarity changed that model last summer, cutting home delivery to two days a week, Thursday and Sunday. The paper was distributed on racks the rest of the week.

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