Free weekly b to cease publication Aug. 27

The bright orange newspaper boxes will soon be empty: Baltimore Sun Media Group to cease publishing b.

The Baltimore Sun Media Group will stop publishing the free weekly newspaper b at the end of the month, seven years after launching it to target a younger audience.

Sun officials said the tabloid is profitable but that its advertising business and readers overlapped with the alternative weekly City Paper, which the company acquired last year, and the Baltimore Sun's Friday entertainment section, wknd.

"Ceasing the production of b allows us to strategically focus our resources on our growing assets within our portfolio," spokeswoman Renee Mutchnik said in a statement.

The last issue of b will come out Aug. 27. The decision will not result in any layoffs, Mutchnik said. Employees who worked on b will continue to work for other Sun publications, she said.

The tabloid known for its bright orange newspaper boxes launched in 2008, and was produced five days a week by a staff of about 20 people based in a Towson office. It was later merged into The Sun's features department and shifted to weekly publication in 2011.

The paper competed with other free publications including the Baltimore Examiner, which published six days a week from 2006 until 2009. The Examiner then closed, citing poor advertising revenue.

The Sun media group has acquired several new publications, including the City Paper, which it bought in February 2014, six months after the weekly was put up for sale by Times-Shamrock Communications. In May 2014, it acquired The Capital in Annapolis and the Carroll County Times.

The weekly is at least the second free tabloid to stop publishing in Maryland this summer. The Washington Post ceased publication of The Gazette, a free weekly newspaper in Montgomery County, in June, eliminating 69 jobs.

Removal of b's orange newspaper boxes will take place in September, likely over several weeks, Mutchnik said.

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