The Albuquerque Tribune published its last edition yesterday, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008. It ended the 86-year run of a very good paper. I work for the Albuquerque Journal. We're the morning paper and the Trib was the afternoon paper. We worked under the first-ever joint operating agreement, forged during the Great Depression in an effort to keep both papers alive, if I understand correctly. Other papers followed the model across the country. This JOA allowed both papers to work under the same roof, sharing presses, HR, advertising and everything else except editorial staffs. We worked on opposite ends of the hall, following the unwritten rule of not entering each other's newsrooms, though there was nothing to stop us.
At one point they put up glass doors, but our badges could still allow access to the other end of the hall. They put up the doors after some guy wandered the Trib leaving notes on people's desks. Apparently, people wondered who he was and eventually figured out he didn't work there (maybe everyone thought he was a new guy?) but was just some random fellow. This is the story I heard, but I'm not sure if it's accurate. It's funny, anyway.
The Trib died because afternoon papers have lost popularity, but not because it was a bad paper. On the contrary, it consistently had catchy front pages and amazing photos. I admit that I didn't read it regularly because I simply didn't have time and got my newspaper fill by working at one. I don't work in a section of the paper that worries about what the competitor has (I'm a copy editor). Having the Trib close made me sad. This is a small town as far as journalism goes, and I think a lot of journalists at different institutions know each other. It's saddening to see our brethren lose their jobs. It also means dozens of fewer jobs available for Duke City journalists.
For its final publication, the Trib did a really nice layout of its history and what it's meant to work there. Actually, it brought a few tears to my eyes. Best of luck to all who have lost their jobs. We've picked up a few at the Journal.