Press & Journal to close: ‘We thought we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, but it turns out it was a train’

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — Middletown’s Press & Journal will publish its last edition Wednesday, July 1 after COVID-19 caused months of financial instability.

The family-owned company that’s been operating for more than 166 years says within weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak, their advertising revenue plummeted, ironically, as readership soared.

They say community support came pouring in and they wouldn’t have been able to keep publishing for as long as they did without that help, but still, it isn’t enough to keep the doors open.

The journal says the pandemic was a major hardship for the newspaper that was already struggling to fund print and digital journalism.

“Our newspaper survived the Civil War, two world wars, and multiple depressions and recessions. But unless a miracle happens, the paper won’t survive Facebook, Google and the coronavirus pandemic. Our readers will have no choice but to get their news from postings on social media or from larger regional news sources,” Joe and Louise Sukle, owners of Press & Journal Publications said in an article on their website.

They say it’s not the kind of ending they could have imagined. It’s extremely distressing for Joe and Louise, their family, and staff of 15 professionals, many of whom have been with the company for over 20 years.

Joe and Louise said, to quote the owner of a California family restaurant forced to close because of the pandemic, “We thought we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, but it turned out that it was a train.”

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