E.W. Scripps (SSP) Shutters a World War II Remnant as Print Withers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A sign of the times, The E.W. Scripps Company (SSP) is shuttering its print newswire to focus on digital-media platforms of online and movile television. The Scripps-Howard News Service, in operation for 96 years, will close its wire news and newspaper article syndication services by the end of the year, the Cincinnati-based company said on Wednesday.

In response, shares gained 3.5% to $18.57 by mid-afternoon.

The nonagenarian news service, founded in 1917, rose to prominence during World War II, applauded for its Pulitzer Prize-winning columns from war correspondent Ernie Pyle.

In a deal announced Tuesday, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MNI) will absorb the wire service's clients and contributors.

As part of its push into new media, the Cincinnati-based company said it had acquired grassroots political Web site and podcasting brand DecodeDC and will restructure its Scripps DC Bureau.

"The Scripps DC bureau, which for many years served newspapers exclusively, will be reconfigured to be a leading investigative storyteller on all the Scripps-owned media platforms -- television, digital and print," the company said in a statement.

For its third quarter ended September, the company reported newspaper subscriptions for its 13 local dailies nationwide had increased 1.4% on the year-ago quarter. This marked the first print subscription increase since the fourth quarter 2010 and was most likely a result of special-offer digital and print bundled subscriptions.

Total revenue from newspapers fell 4.4% compared to the year-ago quarter. E.W. Scripps' newspaper division hasn't seen positive revenue growth since the third quarter 2006.

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