JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A free weekly community newspaper that has landed on Johnson Citians’ doorsteps for 26 years published its last-ever print edition Wednesday. It will continue to exist on its website.
The Johnson City News & Neighbor delivered to about 30,000 homes each week since before the turn of the millennium. Founders Bill and Judy Derby operated the paper the entire time.
The paper focused on all local, community news that celebrated positive events in Johnson City and Washington County. It won numerous awards over its quarter century of existence.
Bill Derby told News Channel 11 it was “unbelievable what has happened to our industry after COVID,” citing the shutdown of several major newspapers in Alabama.
He wrote in more detail about that in a front page story Wednesday, calling it “an incredibly difficult decision for our family, but one that had to be made.” Derby cited a decline in retail insert flyers and increasing costs for a decision that mirrors what he called “the huge decline of newspapers.”
The article says 24 daily papers and 336 weekly papers have closed since 2019.
Derby Publishing purchased the Business Journal of Tri-Cities TN/VA in 2012 and will continue operating that business monthly in print format.
“We are not finished with our company,” Derby wrote. “We will continue to offer the best local and positive news through our News & Neighbor website each day that thousands of our readers can access at their convenience…”