Westender newspaper will close after 68 years in business in Vancouver

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      The Lower Mainland is about to lose another long-lasting community newspaper.

      The Westender will publish its final edition on December 21 after 68 years in business in Vancouver.

      According to a company news release, all seven of its employees will be absorbed by its owner, Glacier Media.

      Two senior Georgia Straight employees, arts editor Janet Smith and music editor Mike Usinger, worked at the Westender. In the 1990s it was edited by Ted Townsend, who's now director of corporate communications at the City of Richmond.

      Those who've worked at the Westender at different times also include Surrey reporter Tom Zillich, former Straight staffer Matthew Burrows, Vancity Community Foundation social-enterprise-development advisor Sean Condon, writer Mary Frances Hill, and visual artist Carlyn Yandle.

      In the 1980s, the Westender was owned by Eric Cardwell, who ran it as a conventional community paper before selling it to the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo in 1989.

      In the 1990s, the Westender expanded its arts and entertainment coverage under Townsend's direction. In this era, it was bought by Black Press.

      In the early 2000s, the Westender tried to become a citywide newspaper under former publisher James Craig. The name was changed to WE. Then in 2013 Glacier Media bought the publication even though it already owned the Vancouver Courier and Business in Vancouver.

      That preceded a major swap of newspapers the following year, which provided Glacier with a monopoly on English-language community papers in the western portion of Metro Vancouver.

      Black Press was left with a monopoly over English-language community papers in the eastern suburbs and Fraser Valley.

      Since then, both companies have closed some publications and focused greater attention on the digital side of the publishing business.