Statesman to end Ahora Sí, offer voluntary severance to all employees

Ahora Sí, the American-Statesman’s weekly Spanish-language newspaper, will cease publication Oct. 11, the company said Thursday.

The announcement came at the same time the Statesman announced all its 200-plus employees would be eligible to take a voluntary severance package.

Staffers who take the voluntary severance package would depart the newspaper next month, the company said.

“This gives our employees a choice for those who were mulling retirement or a change in careers,” Statesman publisher Susie Biehle said. “This also allows us to better align our resources around the areas of most importance to our readers and advertisers.”

The Statesman’s management team will consider whether to accept staffers’ buyout applications based on the newspaper’s continuing business and news coverage needs, Biehle said.

Ahora Sí got its start in 2004 and has, over time, won a number of the industry’s top honors, including Jose Marti Awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications.

“We’ve had a great 14-year run,” Biehle said. “Our valued audience has rapidly moved to digital, and we need to serve them in a different way.”

The Statesman was acquired by GateHouse Media in April for $47.5 million after more than four decades of ownership by Cox Media Group.

The voluntary severance package is site-specific and not being offered companywide by GateHouse.

“We are aggressively pursuing a path to greater revenue diversification and eventual overall growth to better support our entire operation,” Biehle said. “In the challenging media landscape that affects all Texas newspapers, this path doesn’t stray from our commitment to do journalism with impact.”

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