Robot 6

Alternative weekly Boston Phoenix closes after 47 years

The final Boston Phoenix

The final Boston Phoenix

The Boston Phoenix, the groundbreaking alternative weekly that in recent years had carried the work of cartoonists ranging from Matt Bors and David Sipress to Karl Stevens and Brian McFadden, has closed after nearly five decades.

The announcement was accompanied Thursday afternoon by a tweet saying, “Thank you Boston. Good night and good luck.” The current issue, dated March 15, will be the last; a final online edition will appear March 22. Executive Editor Peter Kadzis told The Boston Globe that about 40 employees will be let go within the week with another 10 following soon afterward. There will be no severance pay.

In a statement circulated Thursday to staff members and reposted on the Phoenix’s website, Publisher Stephen M. Mindich attributed the closing to a combination of the economic crisis, changes in the media industry and a decline in advertising. Just six months ago the company changed to a magazine format in an effort to attract more advertisers.

“We are a textbook example of sweeping marketplace change,” Kadzis said in a statement. “Our recent switch to a magazine format met with applause from readers and local advertisers. Not so — with a few exceptions — national advertisers. It was the long-term decline of national advertising dollars that made the Boston Phoenix economically unviable.”

Its sister publications The Portland Phoenix in Maine and The Providence Phoenix in Rhode Island, will remain open.



This rag was best known for it’s “personal” ads a.k.a escort services. No great loss. Mindich his Judge wife and stepsons have all had their issues.

It’s also known for helping breaking out indie bands all around New England with their publication and their former Radio Station WFNX and the first to break the story on the Catholic Church and their cover-ups with abusing boys.

Losing ANY independent voice in the media is a great loss, and I for one will miss it.

And it makes it harder to find a good hooker.

Oh yes, WFNX…that bastion of super DIY independent rock like Nirvana, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc. etc.

As a side note, I went to college in Boston and remember this broadsheet stacked up in common areas. It was a free paper wholly dependent on advertising, hence the willingness to accept escort service ads and “swinging” classifieds. They would remain there, sitting unread, all week until the new edition arrived, where they would also remain unread. So, I’m not sure how much “influence” it actually had based on how inflated the circulation was compared to actual readership.

LOL, every city I’ve ever lived in always had these free weekly papers sitting by the stack in their vending machines, always stacked high, always unread. Only the small minority of the tragically hip and people looking for some company (if you know what I mean) would actually grab them.

I’m personally amazed any of these small operations are still around with the collapse of ad rates both online and IRL.

Tiffany Alonzo

March 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm

This is sad. There were always good articles in here about Boston’s nitelife and happenings. I always loved The Phoenix. It was a magazine with it’s finger on the pulse of the city.

In the 90’s and 00’s it was a great resource for live show listings, reviews of restaurants, and interesting columns, stories and comics. I’ll miss it.

It had been getting thinner and thinner over the years– and cutting content, but could generally be counted upon for good journalism; the question is whether other free weeklies will step up their game. Most of the other weeklies in town are both not for free or specifically aimed at Boston’s various ethnic communities and so while they may be quality publications in their own right; they serve a different niche.

Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives