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Tribune, MediaOne halt Buzz publication

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 3 2008 8:10 a.m. MDT

The Salt Lake Tribune and MediaOne of Utah have suspended publication of the Afternoon Buzz, a free tabloid-size newspaper, because of low advertising sales, the Tribune's deputy editor said.

The last copies of the Buzz were distributed to afternoon commuters on Friday. Since February, about 20,000 copies of the newspaper were printed daily, Monday through Friday, and commuters took about 17,000 copies each day at TRAX stations and popular bus stations downtown, Tim Fitzpatrick, Tribune deputy editor, said Tuesday.

That 85 percent "pick-up rate" is considered good in the newspaper industry, but MediaOne couldn't sell enough ads to pay for the paper, Fitzpatrick said. MediaOne had funded the tabloid. The company also handles advertising and printing for the Tribune and the Deseret News.

"It started out pretty well, and then basically what happened is the economy went south in the seven months," Fitzpatrick said, adding the paper could be resurrected when the economy picks up.

MediaOne President Brent Low on Tuesday confirmed that the Buzz had been shelved, but declined to elaborate.

Fitzpatrick said four employees worked on the publication. They rewrote stories from the morning's Tribune, scanned The Associated Press wire for stories to run in the Buzz, designed the publication and occasionally reported and wrote stories. Their employment over the long-term hasn't been determined yet, he said.

"We haven't let them go," he said. "They're all still here. We have found temporary work for them."

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