By: M.L. Stein Two weeklies also closed; were part of the Thomson Newspaper chain sp.
THE OXNARD (CALIF.) Press-Courier published its last edition June 16, the victim, its publisher said, of the California recession and increased competition in Ventura County. Also folded were two sister weeklies, the Camarillo Sun and the Ventura Sun. All three newspapers were owned by Toronto-based Thomson Newspapers. The June 14 issue of the daily Press-Courier, whose circulation was about 16,000, carried the banner, "Come Thursday, we're history!" Publisher Kirk Davis told the paper's 172 employees about the closure at a June l3 meeting. "Today's decision marks the end of a glorious 95-year run for a newspaper that has been an integral part of the community," Davis said in a statement. The bad California economy and strong competition "have made the choice for us," he continued. "As in any business, you have to make a decision one day ? no matter how painful ? that you simply can't afford to keep operating." Ventura County, with a population of about 700,000, connects to Los Angeles County on the north. It also is served by the Ventura Star-Free Press, Simi Valley Enterprise, Thousand Oaks News-Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Daily News of Los Angeles and various weeklies. The 52,000-circulation Star Free-Press, which is owned by the John Scripps Newspapers group, also publishes an Oxnard edition, which battled the Press-Courier on its home turf for circulation and advertising. "We didn't give up without one heck of a fight," said Press-Courier editor Karen Magnuson. "I am very proud of our staff and what we have accomplished here." Star-Free Press managing editor Joe Howry saluted the Press-Courier, saying, "They did a wonderful job. It was a very aggressive newspaper and we will miss the competition." The loss of the Press-Courier makes it the third Ventura County newspaper to cease publication in the past 11/2 years. The others were the Santa Paula Chronicle and the Camarillo Daily News, which was bought by Scripps and then replaced with a zoned edition of the Star Free-Press.