In an evasively worded front page notice in Monday‘s edition, the ever-shrinking Arizona Republic newspaper, acknowledges its own demise. It’s suffering from the dreaded disease of attrition, as it deteriorates further and hobbles into the sunset.
The all caps headline of the terse article, titled, “TO OUR READERS,” followed by, “Digital USA TODAY free to Republic subscribers,” appears innocuous enough. In fact, it’s a pre-obit.
Gone are the expected newspaper sections. In their place is a front section that includes brief snippets of local, national and international news. The fold-over page USA Today insert added to give heft to the incredibly dwindling newspaper is now incorporated into the catch-all A Section that includes four full-page ads and 6 half page ads. Page 2 contains local and national weather and is topped by a recycled “best of” column: written by a now deceased columnist. Two full pages include puzzles, Dear Abby, horoscopes, celebrity birthdays and the comics. Another page is TV and movie listings.
Section Two incongruously combines Sports and Obituaries. That’s the entire newly revamped, Hillary-endorsing Arizona Republic. We’ve referred to the newspaper as the Daily Regurgitation, for its penchant for recycling identical reports and the Daily Insult as the tone-deaf newspaper continues to insult its ever declining reader base.
The good news is extremist ‘Mexico First’ editorial board member and rancorous columnist Linda Valdez won’t be submitting her vile, anti-Republican, Trump-loathing spew from her Tucson casa since her long-awaited retirement finally came to pass earlier this month. She went out with a leftist swoon, declaring, “We need more migrant labor. Now.”
Valdez’ final column spewed: “GOP blocks needed immigration reform. The labor needs in construction, home health care and agriculture get worse as the GOP shrieks about the so-called dangers of our southern border.”
“In fact,” continued Valdez, who remains unwilling to accept the highest employment numbers in decades delivered by the Trump administration, “the GOP’s anti-immigration rhetoric – which reached ear-splitting shrillness after Trump hijacked the party – is bad for business.” In 2015, predating her actual, but much-anticipated departure, we wrote, “Does nutty column signal Linda Valdez’ swan song?”
Just days ago, it was reported that Gannett, Co. Inc., the parent company of the Arizona Republic and USA Today was targeted for a buyout bid from a media group with a history of taking over struggling newspapers and slashing jobs. The local newspaper is already functioning with diminished staff, and ASU Cronkite Journalism School students in dire need of editors.
The AZ Republic is dead. It just doesn’t know enough to lie down.