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Albany Knickerbocker News: 1843-1988

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The Albany Knickerbocker News, an evening newspaper that has published for 145 years, said goodbye to its readers Friday, grudgingly conceding it lost a battle against declining circulation.

The newspaper's demise was outlined in a front page story with a banner headline: 'We say farewell.'

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The circulation of 'the Knick' had dropped to less than 30,000, making it the least-read daily newspaper in the Albany area.

Capital Newspapers, a division of Hearst Corp., which publishes the Knickerbocker News and Albany Times Union, said the reduced circulation was caused by changing reading habits. People prefer to read a morning newspaper, the company said.

'What's been happening to evening papers in America has come to be known as death in the afternoon,' said Harry Rosenfeld, editor of Capital Newspapers.

Rosenfeld praised the staff of the Knickerbocker News, saying they 'valiantly practiced their craft with energy, intelligence and imagination.'

The mood was somber at the newspaper as employees worked on the final editions.

'When you think of the physical and mental energy that people poured into this paper, there's a lot of just barely hidden sadness around here -- a lot of it,' said Managing Editor William Dowd.

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Groups of employees chatted at impromptu gatherings to reminisce. In some offices, black balloons were tied to desks to mourn the newspaper's demise.

Dowd said closing the paper will affect the community in subtle ways. He said there will be one less public forum.

'Each paper has its own way of looking at things ... we act as a catalyst for each other,' he said.

Employees of the paper will join the staff of the Times Union, a morning newspaper, which will be expanded and publish all day, Dowd said. He will become managing editor for features for the Times Union.

The paper began publishing in 1843 under the name the Albany Knickerbocker. The paper became the Knickerbocker Press in 1879 after it acquired the Albany Daily Press. In 1928, Gannett purchased the Albany Knickerbocker Press and the Albany Evening News. Nine years later, the newspapers were merged and became the Knickerbocker News.

Hearst purchased the Knickerbocker News in 1960.

The Knick was known for its large, dramatic headlines, especially in its final edition called the 'redhead.'

The newspaper had a strong presence at the state Capitol and published a 'state special' edition for state employees.

Among those mourning the loss of the newspaper was Gov. Mario Cuomo.

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'The loss of the Knick is the loss of a valuable perspective. Without that distinctive viewpoint each afternoon, it will be a little harder to keep current, a little more difficult to interpret events,' Cuomo said.

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