Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



News from the state's oldest African-American newspaper will continue online.

The latest edition of The Portland Observer was printed March 18The Portland Observer, the oldest African-American newspaper in the state, has temporarily shut its doors and says it will cease printing a physical newspaper, as advertising revenue continued to nosedive during the novel coronavirus crisis.

The Observer, which is published once a week, covers the metro area's African-American and minority citizenry. But the paper has stopped printing its physical newspaper in late March, as it tries to keep costs down.

Observer Editor Michael Leighton wrote in a statement to Pamplin Media that the closure is temporary. "I can tell you our offices are closed to the public, but we are publishing online, working from home and expect to open the doors in two or three weeks or when public health officials recommend," he said.

The Portland Observer has been in print since 1970.

With shops closed and events canceled, traditional media across the state have taken a hard blow. Small operations, such as The Portland Observer have been hit especially hard.

"Our advertising revenue has been hurt immensely," Leighton said. "We've had many ads canceled due to our clients cancelling events and closing their doors to the public."

Pamplin Media Group cut the pay of its workforce and PMG President Mark Garber wrote to readers this week that the company is considering temporarily merging some of its 24 newspapers together, in order to save on printing costs.

Leighton said the print edition of The Portland Observer will return April 15. It remains the city's only in-print African American newspaper. The Skanner newspaper announced in January it would go online only.

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