The 30-year-old weekly neighborhood newspaper will cease print publication this week.
Employees say they were notified that the Messenger will no longer be printed after the edition that comes out Thursday. It is unclear whether the Messenger will continue to have any sort of presence online.
A spokeswoman for the Baltimore Sun Media Group did not immediately respond to a request for information about the closing of the print edition. The top editor, Ken Weiss, could not be reached but colleagues say he told them that he has other editing duties for the Baltimore Sun Media Group and will still have a job there. A longtime former editor and writer, Larry Perl, left the paper earlier this year.
Launched in the 1980s, the Messenger was hyperlocal before anyone knew the term, and before the advent of online publications such as Patch and The Baltimore Fishbowl, or private social networks such as Nextdoor.
For most of its history, the Messenger was a stand-alone publication that was sold in news boxes and on newsstands in stores around North Baltimore. Many weeks, it ran 28 pages or so. In recent years, it was distributed weekly to subscribers as part of The Baltimore Sun. According to a page on the Baltimore Sun Media Group website, it has a circulation of 2,525.
The Messenger focused on neighborhoods such as Guilford, Roland Park, Hampden, Hoes Heights, Rolden, Evergreen/Alonzoville, Remington, Mount Washington, the Orchards, and the Village of Cross Keys.
“The Baltimore Messenger is distributed every Thursday to residents of North Baltimore, including many of the city’s most affluent consumers,” the Baltimore Sun Media Group website states. “From Roland Park to Remington, readers rely on the Messenger’s coverage of news and events.”
Over the years, the Messenger has had a succession of owners, including the Times Publishing Group, Patuxent Publishing and The Baltimore Sun Media Group, which is a subsidiary of Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing.
It is known for its diverse cover stories, strong coverage of high school sports and events such as graduations, crime news and exclusive features such as Hudson’s Corner by Kathy Hudson. For a time, it had a series of rotating columns focusing on different communities, including Guilford, Roland Park, Radnor-Winston, and Hampden.
The shutdown of the Messenger’s print edition is the second closing of a weekly publication in Baltimore in less than a year. The Baltimore Guide, a weekly publication that served east and southeast Baltimore, closed in May after nearly nine decades.