COLUMBUS, Ohio — The editor of the Columbus Citizen-Journal announced Tuesday that the morning daily will probably close Dec. 31 because a potential sale to a group of investors collapsed last week.
The newspaper's future is threatened because Dispatch Printing Co., which publishes the afternoon Columbus Dispatch, has said it will not renew a joint operating agreement with the Citizen-Journal. The agreement expires at the end of the year.
Under that agreement, Dispatch Printing prints, delivers and sells advertising for both newspapers and splits revenue with Scripps-Howard, which owns the Citizen-Journal. The 75 editorial employees of the Citizen-Journal, which has a circulation of about 118,000, work independently of that agreement.
"The announcement of the end of the joint operating agreement was made two years ago. Nothing has happened yet, and I don't think anything can happen in three months," Editor Richard R. Campbell said after the staff meeting.
There was a tentative agreement with Equity Planning Corp., a Beachwood, Ohio, investment firm, to arrange for purchase of the paper, but that deal fell through last week.