Scarsdale Inquirer Suspends Publication After 123 Years
- Thursday, 18 January 2024 13:33
- Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2024 12:12
- Published: Thursday, 18 January 2024 13:33
- Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 6767
(Updated January 29, 2024) The Scarsdale Inquirer, a community newspaper and an institution in Scarsdale, announced that it had suspended publication on January 16, 2024. The paper has been published weekly for 123 years, since its founding on July 4, 1901. The news was sudden and unexpected by staff and readers.
Though the regular digital version of the paper was published on Thursday January 11, 2024, the paper itself failed to appear on Friday January 12, 2024 or anytime over the three day holiday weekend. Some assumed that it was delayed due to Martin Luther King Day and the snow, but it turned out the paper was not to come at all.
The Scarsdale Village Board was among the first to learn the news. The Village publishes legal notifications of their meetings in the newspaper and was advised on Tuesday January 16 that notice of a Planning Board meeting to be held on January 24 had not appeared in the paper. The Board was forced to delay that meeting until January 31 as proper notice had not been given.
Without their own news channel available, on Wednesday January 17, both the editor Valerie Abrahams and senior reporter Todd Sliss turned to social media to let their readers know what had happened.
Sliss, who has reported on sports, the schools, the Village and more said this on the social network X:
“Devastated to say I was laid off from @ScarsInquirer Monday. Spent my entire adulthood covering Scarsdale/Edgemont in a variety of ways. So many memorable stories/people/events the last 24 years. It saddens me to think about the stories I won't be telling this week and beyond.”
And Valerie Abrahams, the paper’s Editor in Chief indicated that they might be back, saying, “The Scarsdale Inquirer has suspended publication as we look for solutions to bring us back to financial sustainability. — Per statement from Publisher”
The first sign that something was amiss was in November 2023 when Scarsdale Living, the company’s quarterly lifestyle magazine was supposed to appear. Though the issue, dated Fall/Winter 2023 is accessible online, it was never printed, distributed or mailed to subscribers.
However it wasn’t clear if the missed publication was a single event or a harbinger of things to come.
Indeed times are rough for print publications and media. In November 2023 a study by Northwestern University reported that an average of 2.5 newspapers closed each week in 2023 compared to two a week the previous year, a reflection of an ever-worsening advertising climate. In the case of the Scarsdale Inquirer, there was likely a loss in subscription revenue as well.
On social media in Scarsdale, many asked what they could do to revive the paper and suggested a Go Fund Me page. Others noted the loss of big advertisers such as Zachys, and the real estate agencies that used to take out multiple page spreads in each issue.
Whether or not readers can provide enough support to revive the paper is yet to be seen.
We reached out to some former employees of the paper and here is what Todd Sliss said:
"My entire journalism career, my entire adulthood, has been spent covering the unique communities of Scarsdale and Edgemont. Over the years my roles have evolved and changed for a multitude of reasons and I enjoyed every challenge I was presented with. To have production of the paper suspended has been a great personal loss for me and my dedicated longtime co-workers, in addition to the communities we serve. The outpouring of support and offers to help we have received lets us know how valued we are and how important our work has been to generations of readers. I don't know what the future holds for myself or the Inquirer, but I hope both are bright."
"On a personal and professional level I thank former editor Linda Leavitt and publisher Deborah White for taking a chance on me out of college and for allowing me the freedom to grow and do my job, in addition to making it possible for me to work remotely before it was a thing when my first son was born almost 17 years ago. Many still remember me pushing my boys around in strollers while doing Focal Points or covering games. Working full-time and being able to spend so much time with my kids has been a true blessing and something I will always cherish."
Commenting on the news, Scarsdale resident Susan Levine had this to say: "My fantasy has long been that our Village would wish to support The Scarsdale Inquirer, our excellent local newspaper, and as a result every family would get the paper every week and be informed. I am very sad to lose the paper and hope that it does return."