CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte News, an afternoon newspaper, will fold Nov. 1 after nearly a century of publication because of declining circulation and revenues, Knight Publishing Co. officials announced Thursday.
'This is a sad day for us,' said Rolfe Neill, publisher of the News and the Charlotte Observer.
'For years, the News was an important voice in Charlotte, an intensely local, fiesty newspaper that attracted some of the most talented journalists in the country.'
The News' circulation reached a high of 69,409 in 1972 but has fallen to 34,700 this year, in keeping with a nationwide trend for afternoon newspapers, officials said. The News started publication in 1888.
In 1981, Saturday publication of the News was dropped after efforts to bolster lagging circulation failed and in 1983 the staffs of the News and the Observer were combined.
News employees will go to work for the Observer, but about 33 positions in production, circulation and news will be eliminated through attrition during the next year, Neill said.
Rich Oppel, editor and vice president of the two newspapers, said the closing of the News will mean unprecedented expansion for the Observer.
'No newspaper person enjoys seeing the death of a newspaper,' Oppel said. 'However, we are fortunate the Observer will be able to absorb many good folks from the News and also adopt some popular features.
'The Observer has been growing steadily in recent years. We've improved the editorial content constantly, but this set of improvements will be without precedent,' Oppel said.
The expansion will include adding extra sports pages and picking up comics, features and opinion columns previously carried in the News.