Beijing weekly to print final edition on Friday

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 April, 2014, 11:41pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 April, 2014, 11:52pm

A Beijing-based weekly newspaper will publish its final issue this week after suffering years of losses amid the changing mainland media landscape.

The First, affiliated with the Beijing Daily, was launched in 2004 as a propaganda vehicle for the capital’s hosting of the Olympics four years later. It’s mainly targeted at young readers and runs features accompanied by extensive photographs.

In 2009, it became a weekly as subscriptions fell. It announced last week its final edition would be on Friday, and the decision had been approved by related government authorities.

It also published the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee’s magazine, Beijing 2008, and a monthly magazine for primary and middle school pupils in Hong Kong after 2006.

A worker in its circulation department told the South China Morning Post that subscribers for the newspaper could seek refunds.

A senior reporter at the Beijing Daily said the number of employees at The First had been gradually reduced after the Olympics and there were fewer than 20 people working at the newspaper.

“Its advertising income had been meagre and rumours about it closing surfaced several times over the past few years,” said the reporter who declined to be named.

Many of the Communist Party’s newspapers and magazines across the country have been spun off or shut down since last year amid the growth of online media.

Shanghai’s Jiefang Daily Group and the Wenhui-Xinmin United Press Group were consolidated into the Shanghai Newspaper Group in October. Another newspaper, Shanghai Evening Post, was closed in January.

Newspaper booths in Beijing have seen sales drop significantly in recent years, domestic media have reported.