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Step Saver/Observer Newspapers Permanently Stop Publishing After Temporary Coronavirus Shutdown

The Bristol, Plainville and Southington Observer will not resume operations of their weekly publications. The papers — which were owned by the Waterbury Republican American — originally stated they were temporarily shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Due to the COVID-19 virus and the executive orders from the President and the Governor, we will not be printing the weekly Observers and will be closing the Step Saver offices for the duration of the crisis.”

A phone call to the parent company confirmed the papers will not reopen.

The Observers were a rebranded version of the Step Saver, a weekly print shopper. The Step Saver was a pennysaver style publication filled with free personal ads, items for sale as well comics and primetime TV listings.

The Observers covered city council and school board meetings. Small-town sports and politics. The weeklies were driven by dedicated local reporters, columnists, editors and so many behind the scenes workers.

In recent years print display advertising has slowed down with social media empowering businesses to promote directly to a local targeted audience.

John Goralski with the Observer wrote in an editorial right after the temporary shutdown, “As a free community newspaper with no subscriptions, revenues dried up quickly as advertisers shuttered their doors against the virus. We hope to be back.”

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