Venezuela’s oldest newspaper had a tough past week. After a newsprint shortage that almost shut the paper down, a deal with a state company may keep the paper running for at least two more weeks.
El Impulso, which has reported news from Barquisimeto in western Venezuela for 110 years, announced its closure on Wednesday, citing decreases in ad revenue, rising inflation and shortages in basic printing materials.
Print is a powerful visual tool, especially since an estimated 75% of people consider brochures and other print materials to be sources of useful information. But with the widespread popularity and low overhead of digital journalism, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for many print publications to compete.
In Venezuela, print publications face another issue. Currency controls and a challenging economic climate make it difficult to import the supplies needed to print papers. In the past few months, many large newspapers have been forced to cut down on pages, and a number of smaller presses have had to shut down entirely.
According to Public Space, a journalism watchdog, as many as nine regional papers have stopped circulating in Venezuela due to chronic material shortages. Many other independent media outlets have been snapped up by government-friendly buyers who control or guide each paper’s editorial line. Online content marketing has not caught on as it has in other parts of the world.
El Impulso is only the latest paper to stave off closure by making a deal with a state company. The deal will ensure that the paper prints for at least two more weeks, according to marketing director Gisela Carmona. According to the Associated Press, she also said that the deal is not a long-term solution.
The deal went through on Thursday. It remains to be seen whether the deal will be able to save the struggling paper.