MERKEL, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) After 130 years the Merkel Mail newspaper is closing up the shop.
“Papers just didn’t sell like I thought they would,” says John Starbuck, the publisher.
Starbuck is a Merkel native and dedicated his career to sharing the news.
“I came in as the editor in 2001. In 2005 I became the co-publisher,” says Starbuck.
After weighing several options, he says the paper just couldn’t recover from the loss of advertising sales.
“It’s been a ride but, unfortunately our revenue stream has dropped off. Legal notices for our attorneys have been our financial bread and butter.”
He also says a change in demographics has led to less interest in the paper.
“It’s not so much the revenue but the fact that Merkel does not appreciate the paper for what it is like they did several years ago.”
Majority of the subscribers in their 60’s or over and Starbuck says younger generations are getting news from other sources.
“Social media has taken a bite out of the fun of running a newspaper.”
After 29 years in the industry Starbuck says he’s taking a break.
“I do not plan to go back into journalism. The writing style has changed so much from when I started in 1992. I don’t think we could get along.”
Starbuck says the Merkel Mail went through 21 owner change over its 130 year span, covering news in Merkel, Trent, Tye, Mulberry Canyon, Noodle and Stith.
The final edition includes a message to its supporters and a copy of the paper form 50 years ago.