WINCHESTER — The owner of the Winchester Press says she hopes to see the title return to print — once a new owner is found.
But in a follow-up post appearing on the firm’s Facebook page yesterday, Jan. 5, owner Beth Morris, 81, disavows that earlier message — although it remains on the Press Facebook page — saying “it did not come from me, and those who posted it did not call me to confirm that it was true.”
“In fact, what the staff was told was that we would not be printing an issue on Jan. 8,” says the online missive, which describes the prior closure announcement as “inaccurate and false” and consequently “may force us into bankruptcy.”
The widow of former late publisher John Morris does concede it was her plan to “close” the paper after giving staff eight weeks notice, adding the period would have allowed time to find a new owner. As it is, the Press office remains open but limited to three mornings a week. The paper itself is no longer in production pending a buyer coming forward.
The owner says she put her life’s savings into the Press and its sister publication, The Prescott Journal, is left with a large debt in connection with investments made in a web press business a decade ago, and is set to lose her home as well as the St. Lawrence Street office of The Press.
As factors in the paper’s predicament, Morris points to a 40 percent decline in revenue caused by a changing industry — including Facebook and a lack of support by big box retailers and car dealerships. See her full statement below.