The Weekly Standard, among the few remaining conservative publications that is critical of President Donald Trump, is shutting down after 23 years of publication.
Clarity Media Group, which owns the magazine, announced the closure Friday, citing “double-digit declines” in subscriber base in four out of the last five years. The last issue will be published Dec. 17.
“All good things come to an end,” Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard‘s co-founder and editor-at-large, tweeted. “We worked hard to put out a quality magazine, and we had a good time doing so.”
Staff members were told in an all-staff meeting Friday to clear out their desks, CNN reports. They will receive pay through the end of the year, plus severance. The severance pay will be determined on factors like seniority, but will reportedly only be given to those who agree to sign a non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreement.
“I know it’s an emotional day, but I want to tell you don’t get on social media and attack anybody because it will put your severance in jeopardy,” Ryan McKibben, the chief executive and chairman of Clarity Media Group, told The Weekly Standard staff, according to CNN.
While Clarity Media Group cited finances as the reason for closure, editor-in-chief Stephen Hayes hinted that the downturn may be due to the magazine’s criticism of the president.
“This is a volatile time in American journalism and politics,” Hayes wrote in an email to staff, according to CNN. “Many media outlets have responded to the challenges of the moment by prioritizing affirmation over information, giving into the pull of polarization and the lure of clickbait.”
Some staff speculated that the magazine’s closure was publisher MediaDC’s way of putting resources towards its other, more Trump-friendly publication, The Washington Examiner. McKibben reportedly told staffers this was incorrect, although The Washington Examiner will now become a weekly publication and will be sent to Weekly Standard subscribers to fill the remainder of their subscriptions.
In a public statement made on Twitter, Hayes wrote he is “profoundly disappointed in the decision to close The Weekly Standard.”
“For nearly a quarter century, TWS has provided an unapologetically conservative and fiercely independent voice on American culture and public affairs,” Hayes continued. “That voice is needed is needed now more than at anytime in our previous 23 years.”
The Weekly Standard website remains online for now, but will reportedly be taken down sometime in the future.