Bermuda Sun To Print Last Issue On July 30th

July 25, 2014

[Updated] The Bermuda Sun Limited has confirmed that Bermuda Sun is to cease publication after 50 years, and the final issue will be published this coming Wednesday [July 30].

“Regrettably, 23 positions of the paper’s editorial and advertising operation will be made redundant. The employees, all of whom have faithfully served the paper, will receive a full redundancy package and every effort is being made to assist them with securing alternative employment,” said a statement from the company.

“Businesses related to the Bermuda Sun, which include Island Press Limited, the tourism website Bermuda.com Limited and its print companion, Bermuda.com Guide Limited, will be amalgamated with subsidiary companies operated by Bermuda Press [Holdings] Limited. Details of the amalgamations are outlined in a separate statement issued by the Bermuda Press [Holdings] Limited today”

The full statement from the Bermuda Sun is below:

It is with sadness that Bermuda Sun Limited announces that the Bermuda Sun is to cease publication after 50 years. The final issue will be published on July 30, 2014.

Regrettably, 23 positions of the paper’s editorial and advertising operation will be made redundant. The employees, all of whom have faithfully served the paper, will receive a full redundancy package and every effort is being made to assist them with securing alternative employment.

Despite our best efforts, the decline in advertising revenues over the past decade, exacerbated by the challenging economic climate and the impact of digital media on the print industry, has made it increasingly difficult for the company to meet the costs of producing the newspaper.

Since 2008, the Sun has been operating at an annual loss. It is the view of the Board of Directors that despite the considerable efforts and sacrifices of management and staff, such losses are no longer sustainable and that it financially has no alternative but to close the newspaper.

Businesses related to the Bermuda Sun, which include Island Press Limited, the tourism website Bermuda.com Limited and its print companion, Bermuda.com Guide Limited, will be amalgamated with subsidiary companies operated by Bermuda Press [Holdings] Limited. Details of the amalgamations are outlined in a separate statement issued by the Bermuda Press [Holdings] Limited today.

The amalgamation is the best means for preserving jobs in those businesses.

The decision to cease publishing the Bermuda Sun has not been taken lightly. Over the past several years, the Board and indeed everyone at the paper has worked hard to cut costs and exhausted every avenue to keep the newspaper afloat, including seeking a buyer. These efforts have proved unsuccessful.

The economic reality is that a traditional print newspaper that publishes twice a week, such as the Sun, is no longer viable in a small market such as Bermuda.

Randy French, Publisher of the Bermuda Sun, said in a statement, “This is a very painful and difficult decision for the company. “It is an especially sad day for my family. My father Donald together with Warren Brown started the Bermuda Sun in 1964 and various members of our family have worked for the paper ever since.

“We are very proud of what the newspaper has achieved in that time and of its position as a trusted and alternative media voice in the community. In doing so, it has made a valuable contribution to democracy in Bermuda.

“Our editorial and advertising staffs have been dedicated, creative and professional throughout the increasingly financial difficulties we have faced. The Board has nothing but the utmost gratitude and respect for their efforts and their passion. We have made every effort to continue publishing, but regrettably we can no longer avoid the inevitable.

“The newspaper industry globally is experiencing profound economic and technological changes. These changes have already resulted in the reduction of many newspapers and printing companies around the world. According to Newspaper Association of America figures, newspaper print advertising revenues in 2013 were the lowest since 1950 and were down 50% over the last five years alone.

“We are not immune to global trends in Bermuda and at the Sun, we have made every effort to meet these challenges. We were the first media company in Bermuda to establish a web site and a strong social media presence. Earlier this year we were the first local media company to introduce augmented reality print technology.

“Despite our best innovative efforts, digital revenues have not grown at a fast enough rate to offset the fall in newspaper advertising revenue impacted by the decline of Bermuda’s once thriving retail and tourism businesses. We are a casualty of a struggling economy and a population base that has significantly declined over the years.

“While there are hopeful signs of improvement in Bermuda, we are unable to continue our business.

“Ending publication of the Bermuda Sun is truly the end of an era but its legacy is one of which everyone who worked for the paper can be extremely proud. Over many years we met an important need in Bermuda by offering editorials and articles on the events of the day, and reporting the news fairly and with integrity.

“We would like to believe that in our own way we gave encouragement to Bermudians and residents to talk about the issues that impact their lives. That exchange of ideas and knowledge is good for Bermuda. We leave with sadness but are hopeful that as small as Bermuda is, there are viable and emerging forums for receiving and discussing the news.”

The Bermuda Sun’s historical archive will continue to be available online.

Update 3.57pm: Tony McWilliam, Editor-in-chief of the Bermuda Sun, said, “The closure of the Bermuda Sun is devastating to me but my primary concern is for the welfare of my team.

“I work with a talented, loyal and exceptionally conscientious group of journalists and my priority over the coming weeks will be to help them to secure new jobs. They all do terrific work and to be suddenly confronted with redundancy is a massive blow.

“I’ve spent 24 years at the Bermuda Sun and it has been an honour and a privilege to edit the paper for the past 15 of those years.

“We have always endeavoured to pursue truth, be fair and balanced in our coverage and provide a platform for diverse points of view.

“If the legacy of the Bermuda Sun is that it helped raise the bar on journalistic standards, then we can look back with great pride.

“I am grateful to my publisher Randy French for the opportunity of a lifetime; my heart goes out to all of my dear colleagues at the Sun; I thank the advertisers who have supported our paper over the years — and most of all, I thank the readers.

“You’ve carried us on an extraordinary journey and I sincerely hope the memories will be meaningful and lasting.”

Update 10.02pm: A PLP spokesperson said, “The Progressive Labour Party is greatly disappointed with the news that Bermuda will unfortunately become vulnerable to the musings of a single print newspaper upon the closure of the Bermuda Sun operation.

“We hope that the Royal Gazette will not exploit it’s position as the sole print newspaper but will start to engage in fair and equitable reporting. We thank the Bermuda Sun team for having brought a balance to print media and we wish all those employees the best as they seek employment.”

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Comments (60)

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  1. Dreary says:

    Wow!

    • CBA says:

      Very sad. So many people have left the island that not even a newspaper can stay in business. Bermuda needs to wake up and get with it! We need a bigger population if we want jobs. A small amount of people want to march against PRCs? I say bring more people in! Do you don’t understand that Bermuda cannot survive without more people?

      • Ang says:

        I think the internet is partially to blame. I have not purchased a paper in a long time instead I read the news online.

        • What Up says:

          Blame the internet its called modern times.

      • Portia says:

        If you want a bigger population, perhaps we should start by encouraging back all those Bermudians who have left their home country due to the high cost of living and lack of opportunities here.

        • What Up says:

          And lets not forget all the foreigners working here for $5.00 and hour then say Bermudians don’t want to work well not for buttons…

    • Kunta says:

      Their last Headline should be “thanks to O.B.A/ubp who took de Govt. notices from us and gave it to de RG” WE CAN NO longer OPERATE TO GIVE Bermudians an unbiased form of media !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Creamy says:

        They have been losing money since 2008 and the press release above talks about declining revenues for the past decade.

        • LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL says:

          Yes, and the taking of those notices from the Sun is the straw that broke the camels back!!

  2. No! says:

    We need more than one printed source of news, other than just the RG!

    We need investigative journalism!

    We need more media, not less!

    I feel really bad for all of the staff, my hearts go out to all. thank you for all that you have done for Bermuda.

    • Darwin's Child says:

      Agree wholeheartedly.

    • Dockyard Lackey says:

      Sad day for the free press. I enjoy the old fashioned relaxation of leafing through the newspaper and reading the articles which attract my attention. I appreciate the RG does a fantastic job, but as with the other comment we need diversified journalism. Afraid the electronic media is winning the battle. Really going to miss doing the crossword with my morning coffee. Best wishes to all the staff wha sadly have lost their jobs. Hope you can all move on from this.

    • Naive Observer says:

      Problem is that Print Media is dying all over the world. Digital Media is the future. So rather than saying that we need more than one source of printed news, drop the idea of a requirement for printed, and just make it news outlet with the other attributes such as investigative journalism, etc.

      There is no special making on printing the words on paper. Today most people get their news from the Internet, TV, Radio, etc. or Digital Editions of traditional papers.

      The news source you are commenting on is a good example that you do not need to print it on paper to make for a good news source. It is the reporters and editorial staff that make for a good news source.

      I feel for the staff of the Sun and their families. It is sad they are losing their jobs and it is bad the the number of editorial voices on the Bermuda news gathering scene will be reduced. But don’t expect another physical paper to replace the Sun, the only possibility would be another digital outlet these days.

    • Um Um Like says:

      Great idea! Why don’t you start one!

    • gmsgms says:

      The PLP-BIU always complain about the journalism of the RG. Perhaps it’s time they put their combined resources behind the Workers Voice and turn that into a bigger and more widely distributed newspaper. Another option would be good.

      • PBanks says:

        Bermuda Network News came and went, a few years ago, although that was strictly an online platform.

        Would be extremely difficult in this current economic climate to establish a new print publication.

    • Redman says:

      @ No!

      Agreed, but if people aren’t going to invest, purchase and support as they clearly haven’t with The Sun and Mid Ocean plus others previously then one is all we’ll have.

  3. I imagine the foreigners will also be blamed for the jobs that are now being made redundant…Another strike or maybe a boycott? Granted I also appreciate more than one source of information but in reality, times are hard for everyone :-(

    • Truth Teller says:

      Ray has to keep those checks coming in. Again Ray is it Fahy who signs off on your payments?

  4. RME says:

    Years from now people will be writing: “I’m so Bermudian, I remember The Bermuda Sun.”
    Sad all around.

  5. Rica says:

    I am truly speechless. Thank you to the awesome team who has dedicated themselves to a worthy cause. I am saddened at this news and hope that all are able to find alternate employee sooner rather then later.

  6. Double D says:

    What a shame.

    My sympathies with all the staff of the Sun.

  7. Jammy Dodger says:

    Such a shame. A decline in population (can’t work out why) plus a decline in printed news. Inevitable, but sad nonetheless.

  8. Tough Love says:

    Omgosh! This is truly sad.

  9. somuchless says:

    It is true about the decline in print advertising, etc. But wow, I too am shocked.

    I’ve encountered many of the staff and they have been nice.

  10. Just a matter of time says:

    Can’t believe the RG will be THE only printed newspaper now…smh.

    • Tough Love says:

      Heaven help us.

      • Kangoocar says:

        Heaven help us??? I bet you thought it was funny when EB said, ” One down, one to go” you were all living in total oblivience!??? When he said that, that was exactly the time our economy started to sputter!!! Not on,y were expats leaving, Bermudians were becoming unemployed!!! Just another sad reminder of all the plp did wrong and now we have more Bermudians unemployed!!!! Everyone can thank the plp for this!!!

        • Check again says:

          Let me guess a white Bermudian….right???? The OBA has been in charge for a while check the stats

      • Redman says:

        @ all those who are lamenting the RG as the only print media outlet left then how about you start another one?.

        With the Mid Ocean and now the Sun gone surely the opportunity is there for a new version of Print media. If you wont invest in another source your comments of anguish are pointless. SMH

  11. San George says:

    The loss of the Official Gazette was their death blow. You can thank the OBA for that. The wealth in this country must be shared. Concentration of wealth is never a safe bet – for the poor or the rich.

    • O'Brien says:

      The RG’s bid for the contract was actually considerably cheaper – and it had the additional advantage of publishing 6 days a week as opposed to 2.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Works both ways, remember how DREB put the MON out of business?

    • Double Standards says:

      Pretty sure I read that they have been reporting losses since 2008.

  12. nuffin but the truth says:

    blame de plp!

    • RME says:

      Bet you Triangle Drifter and Changer will find a way.

  13. Terry says:

    Look at the bright side.

    People will still have a much better chance to speak out in reason on BERNEWS.

    I need a double.

    To hell with “Rule Britannia”….(jest)……

    Rule “BERNEWS” Bernewsee rules the waves………

  14. LiarLiar says:

    “We are a casualty of a struggling economy and a population base that has significantly declined over the years.”

    When will certain supporters understand that with less and less people these occurrences will continue?

    You guys harp on about the PLP achieving the highest GDP Bermuda has ever seen under their reign. What you fail to realize or understand is that this was coorelated with the highest population Bermuda has experienced which was achieved by the PLP issuing the most work permits the island has ever seen. But yet these same supporters didn’t say a word during this time.

    Your unbridled hatred for all that may differ from you will be this island’s downfall which will inevitably affect you and yours negatively, if it hasn’t already. But I am confident that you will find someone else to blame for your plight, as you are doing now.

  15. Bermudian says:

    It’s sad to see the Sun go, but we now have Bernews as a reliable source for news. I haven’t been to the RG website since discovering Bernews.

    Keep up the great work Bernews. You have a lot more supports then you think!

  16. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    why is everyone surprised..?? oh that’s right, you all didn’t want to listen when you have been told that bda hasn’t bounced back because we haven’t struck rock bottom yet…lots more unemployment coming…things are gonna happen that will shock the sleepers…so keep on keeping on with your mindset and mentality…to be continued.

  17. Archie says:

    It is extremely bad news for the people of Bermuda. There is one less place for opinion, one less group of reporters to expose the truth, one less organ for holding politicians, people and institutions to account.
    Bernews does a good job reporting the news but apart from the RG no-one else is out there digging and they don’t, frankly.
    I would really ask the Govt to set up a commission to see what this means in terms of reporting the news. The concentration of power into one newspapers is not good, really not good.
    It is not good for democracy.

  18. Snoopy says:

    A very sad day! Thank you all for great years of reporting! From a true newsy!
    Best to all of you!

  19. Really says:

    No point in marching you cant get blood from a stone there are no people to pay the bills on the island . When Hamilton is chock a block again you can’t find a Parkin space and u feel irritated gettin about then u know the recession is ova .

  20. Terry says:

    Pravda comes to mind Archie.

  21. Time Shall Tell says:

    When you look at the news stands in various stores there’s usually the Royal Gazette sold out but copies left of the Bermuda Sun.. If your business model isn’t working yet you refuse to adapt to a successful business model then you’re destined to fail.

  22. Double Standards says:

    Sad to see you go Sun. Always enjoyed your lifestyle articles.

  23. cromwell says:

    It never had a editorial policy that was different.

    Sports and social might be missed.Lasted longer than expected.

    Unsustainable like a lot of self serving Bermudian enterprises in the present anti business anti foreigner market.

  24. Triangle Drifter says:

    First the Mid Ocean. Now the Bermuda Sun. DREB must be celebrating today, wherever he may be. That is 2 down & 1 to go.

    It is a tough world out there for the print media. The Sun is only one of many that have stopped presses for the last time.

    Buying a paper used to be a daily requirement. Now first click in the day is Bernews.

  25. sailor says:

    I remember when the Bermuda Sun was printed on Saturday..I got to deliver them:)

  26. Coffee says:

    The Govt signed the death notice for the sun … they ripped away the government contract and gave it to the combined

  27. Kathy says:

    Wow – I actually thought they were great reporters! In my opinion, more objective than the Royal Gazette!

  28. Time Shall Tell says:

    I just had a conversation last night with a sizable group on this topic. Many said they don’t buy news paper anymore but if they do it’s the Royal Gazette & only if there’s a juicy front page story, otherwise they get all their news from the electronic media (i.e. Bernews & the like). This falls in line with my earlier post of usually being able to find copies of the Bermuda Sun left over in various stores when the Royal Gazette has long since sold out.

    • Time Shall Tell says:

      All hard copy products are struggling in this new digital era, when was the last time you bought a CD, DVD sales have greatly dropped down world wide, even hard copy magazine sales are down world wide. This is a sign of old tech making way for new tech, either adjust to it or you will get left behind.

  29. PB says:

    PB says:

    Sad day indeed. I took over editorship in 1965 about six months (and two editors) after The Sun’s birth. To say we had a mixed bunch of opinions in the editorial department was an understatement – Bryan Darby my trusty assistant, the late David Allen and Margaret Fishley all worked hard to produce a paper we could be proud of. More dear friends such as the stalwart Enith Wilson took care of circulation whilst the ladies in advertising – Maggie Thomson, Jean French and Lucy Davis – made sure we stayed solvent. Our success in those early years also had a lot to do with the support we got from Island Press’ Horst Augustinovic whose creative energy, quiet attention to detail and exhausting working hours I am forever grateful for. It was seven years of tears, toil, trials and tribulations for me, but years to be remembered forever because of those wonderful people. Thanks everybody.

  30. Jarvis Trott says:

    I wonder if the Sun considered charging for their online paper? Bernews could/should do this, too. This is how media in other countries are staying afloat. The hard work that goes into producing news coverage should be paid for as subscriptions, not given away free. Ayo Johnson should consider this business model, too, if he wants Think Media to survive.

  31. Edmund Wells says:

    To Bernews-

    The Bermuda Sun was one of only two Bermuda-based on-line sources with a discrete Opinion section. It appears, so far, that Bernews has elected to mix opinion pieces in with news, putting an “Opinion” flag in the headline.

    Will the closing of the Sun be the catalyst to create a separate Opinion section/tab, with a range of commentators?

    Thanks.

    EW