Saying its business model no longer works, managers at The Davis Clipper announced Monday that the weekly will cease publication and close down.
Publisher R. Gail Stahle said in a statement that the 129-year-old news outlet’s Dec. 4 edition would be its last.
Under three generations of the Stahle family, the Bountiful-based paper has reported on life in Davis County with a colorful and eclectic mix of coverage on local politics, schools, arts and entertainment, homegrown columnists and community calendars.
Gail Stahle, a Bountiful native, called the award-winning weekly’s closure “heartbreaking,” noting that its full-time staff of 11 and an array of stringers had been informed of the move last week.
“My family has loved publishing the Clipper since 1891,” Stahle said. “Each generation has cherished the opportunity and understood the value of a community newspaper.”
But the publisher said that “as with almost all newspapers,” revenues from advertising and subscriptions at the Clipper have declined “continuously over the past decade.” The coronavirus only worsened those conditions, said Stahle, and the weekly’s operation model “is just no longer viable.”
The Davis Clipper’s website davisclipper.com will also shut down.
News of the closure comes just weeks after Utah’s two largest daily newspapers, The Salt Lake Tribune and The Deseret News, said they would both cease production of a daily printed newspaper starting next year and instead go to one printed edition per week.
Lorie Matern, The Davis Clipper’s longtime office manager and daughter to Stahle, said in an interview that many of the paper’s subscribers were elderly residents, often without an alternative source for community news.
“We’ve kind of been the lifeline to Davis County,” she said Monday.
“We’ve been a huge part of the successes, the heartaches and the tragedies and really helped keep the community informed and connected,” Matern said. “I think we kind of pulled everybody together a lot of times."
Stahle’s grandfather John Stahle Sr. first launched the newspaper with local business man Lamoni Call, dubbing it “Little Clipper” at first but then renaming it Davis County Clipper the following year, according to a short history provided by the newspaper.
His son, John Stahle Jr., assumed the role of publisher in 1954, and Gail Stahle took over the post in 1989.
Matern said the family would continue to publish Iron County Today, a free weekly news publication based in Cedar City.
In his statement, Stahle said he thanked “the large number of editors, writers, typesetters, production people and printers who’ve served as part of our Clipper family for multiple generations."
He said, “I wish them all well as they pursue their future careers.”