AMA to shutter newspaper amid ad turmoil

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AMA to shutter newspaper amid ad turmoil
AMA to shutter newspaper amid ad turmoil

American Medical News' 55-year publishing run will come to a close this year, the American Medical Association, its publisher, said today.

Editorial staff in Chicago and Washington, DC, and sales staff in New Jersey—20 total—will be affected.

AMA officials cited declining ad revenues, including the newspaper's inability to generate an operating surplus from its advertiser base, which includes the pharmaceutical industry and, to a lesser extent, classified ads. Also blamed for the decision is the ongoing migration of readers to online and digital platforms.

“In the last nine months or so, we've gone through a process of evaluating [options for] AM News,” said Thomas Easley, SVP & publisher, periodic publications, “and [we] came to the conclusion that the only thing we could do at this point is close it.”

AM News has a print circulation of 230,000 medical professionals, the vast majority of them physicians. Like a lot of medical publications, it was hit hard in 2009 but had seen a rebound, in both ad pages and revenue, in 2010 and 2011. However, instead of continuing to climb back to previous levels, 2012 brought red ink. “We were forecasting a continuing decline through 2013,” said Easley.

Launched in 1958, and revamped in 2001AM News' last publishing day will be Sept. 9, and the association will maintain the website through year's end, Easley said.

The newspaper is part of a portfolio that includes the JAMA Network, Journal of the American Medical Association and the JAMA specialty titles. Unlike its sister titles, which derive revenue from both institutional subscriptions and ads, AM News is completely ad-supported.

"As much as anything, this is about [a] strategic shift for the publishing portfolio to really hone the focus on clinical research and clinical practice publishing," said Easley.

The AMA said it will bolster its in-house communication vehicles—email news aggregators Morning Rounds and AM Alerts—to ensure physicians continue to receive timely news relevant to the profession.
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