Tico Times kills print edition and will cointinue only online

The Tico Times, the struggling English-language weekly, announced online that its print edition today would be its last.

The newspaper recounted major stories in its last 56 years, but also said that the company, owned by Dery Dyer, laid off its 16-member staff Tuesday.

The newspaper ran an ad last week announcing that its building in downtown San José was for sale. A letter published in the newspaper’s Web site said the publication would emphasize online publication in the future.

The Tico Times already has an online version. To its credit the print edition, like A.M. Costa Rica, contains locally generated news stories and columns, although the online version would frequently lift stories from La Nación, the Spanish newspaper owned by Grupo Nación that printed The Tico Times.

Said the Tico Times “Almost flatteringly, many of the English online vehicles received their material from plagiarizing stories in The Tico Times and the country’s Spanish publications. Dyer said The Tico Times will emphasize providing original content at a faster pace online, with an eye to better fulfilling expat needs and continuing to provide fair and honest journalism in the country.”

Industry observers estimated that the newspaper was losing at least about $15,000 a month.

The Tico Times never really recovered from the great loss of advertising caused by the 2008 economic downturn and the collapse of the country’s real estate market. It is not the first print newspaper to stop publishing due to the economic situation. The Beach Times in Tamarindo also ended print publication shortly after the real estate decline.

The Tico Times said that it would explore new revenue models and also ask for donations from the community to keep going. Ominously, the publication said “Because of the newspaper’s precarious financial situation, the new venture will rely entirely on its ability to attract new funding and generate revenue online.”

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