'Urbanite' shutting down at end of September, publisher says

'Urbanite,' a free monthly magazine focused on urban affairs in the Baltimore area, will go out of business at the end of September, publisher Tracy Ward said Friday.
She said the print magazine now on the street is the last, and that the website will most likely go dark as of Oct. 1 "for the foreseeable future," even though she herself will probably keep working through the end of the year to tie up loose ends. Ward has owned the publication for almost a decade.
"A lot of people rallied around it," she said in telephone interview Friday afternoon. "We had great writers and great artists. And it was more than just  a paycheck for them. People felt they were investing in it. And it deserves a graceful ending. It deserves as graceful an ending as we can give it under the circumstances."

Ward said she had been struggling to keep the publication afloat since losing its key investor and the publication's top advertiser in 2008. And while the economy has improved slightly, it did not improve enough for the magazine to become profitable.

"If this year had been a healthier year in terms of economic growth, I don't think we would be going out of business," she said. "It's just been too slow -- it's been four years of slow growth when you're already in a weakened position. But we were so close. We were so close to making it. And every year I would say, 'I can't do one more year,' and then it would be another year of very difficult circumstances particularly on my part."

While she thinks there's a possibility that the magazine could return at some point with the "right investment team," she doesn't believe she would be part of it.

"I've been carrying this thing for 9 and 1/2 years, it would have been 10 years in January," she said. "So, for me, I'm ready for new horizons. But I still believe in the product. I absolutely believe it's the right product for today's cities. I haven't lost faith at all. It's just that I ran out of steam."

Ward bought the magazine in 2003 from Laurel Harris Durenberger, according to the Urbanite website.

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