FOLIO Weekly Shuts Down Due To ‘Economic Freefall’ Brought On By Coronavirus

May 5, 2020

FOLIO Weekly, Northeast Florida’s largest circulation alternative weekly newspaper, is shutting down after 33 years due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Publisher Sam Taylor publicly announced the closure on Tuesday afternoon.

Editor Georgio Valentino said Taylor notified him and the rest of the staff on Monday.

“He read the statement that he published today [Tuesday] and basically let that statement speak for itself,” Valentino told WJCT News.

While no one was really surprised, he said no one was happy to hear the news.

“We've been talking about the good times, we've been sharing memories, we've been shedding tears, doing all that usual stuff that you'd expect,” Valentino said.

And FOLIO isn’t the only alt weekly that’s gone under recently because of the pandemic.

“This is something that's happening around the country and basically this has just exacerbated the trend over the last few years that has been squeezing independent media and local journalism. It’s kind of like the last 10 years, but on steroids,” he said.

Staffers at other local media outlets have also been furloughed as advertising revenue has fallen off during the pandemic, including at WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union.

“It’s not a positive development for Northeast Florida,” said Valentino.

FOLIO Weekly Publisher Sam Taylor was not available for comment by this story’s deadline.

CORRECTION: FOLIO Weekly has been in existence for 33 years, not 24, as this story originally indicated. The alternative weekly newspaper was founded in April of 1987. We regret the error.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.