The owner of The Portland Phoenix is hoping to sell the weekly newspaper to its employees, a top executive at the parent company said Thursday.

Everett Finkelstein, chief operating officer of The Phoenix Media/Communications Group, said the effort to explore an employee purchase of the publication stems from the closing of The Portland Phoenix’s last remaining sister paper.

“We are working on something of a transition” of ownership, he said Thursday.

Finkelstein said there are a significant number of details to work out, and he didn’t anticipate knowing for another week or more whether the sale can even go forward.

The Phoenix Media/Communications Group announced last week that the Providence Phoenix would fold because of high costs and declining print advertising revenue. Its last issue is Friday.

The company closed the Boston Phoenix in March 2013 and said at the time that the Portland and Providence papers would continue to publish because they had lower operating costs.


When the announcement about closing the Providence Phoenix was made last week, Steven Mindich, owner of The Phoenix Media/Communications Group, made no mention of his plans for Portland, although Finkelstein told The Associated Press that a sale of the Portland paper to employees was being explored.

Nick Schroeder, the Portland Phoenix’s managing editor, and John Marshall, the general manager, both said they couldn’t comment on the process and didn’t know who was representing employees in a possible transaction.

The Portland Phoenix has “seven or eight” full-time employees, Schroeder said, and multiple freelance writers. It occupies space at 16 York St.

In an online post on the paper’s website Thursday afternoon, Schroeder said the closure of the Providence paper will have no effect on the Portland operation.

“On Oct. 8, our sister publication, the Providence Phoenix, announced that it would close, ending a 36-year run for the city’s only alt-weekly,” he wrote. “What that means for our paper is a good and appropriate question. Here’s the answer: We’re fine.”

The Phoenix papers were considered “alternative weeklies” because they focused on arts coverage and commentaries rather than more traditional news coverage. The closing of the Phoenix papers illustrates that alternative publications aren’t immune from the decline in print advertising that has hit most mainstream newspapers in the past decade.

In addition to the Providence paper, another alternative weekly, the Bay Guardian in San Francisco, is publishing its last issue this week.

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