The Phoenix (newspaper)

The Phoenix (newspaper)

Boston/Portland/Providence Phoenix
The cover of the March 15, 2013 Boston edition of The Phoenix, the magazine's last
Type Alternative weekly
Format Tabloid (Portland and Providence editions) Magazine (Boston edition)
Owner(s) Phoenix Media/Communications Group
Publisher Stephen M. Mindich
Editor Peter Kadzis
Founded 1966
Ceased publication 2013 (Boston Phoenix only)
Headquarters 126 Brookline Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
United States

The Phoenix (stylized as The Phœnix) is the name of several alternative weekly periodicals published in the United States by Phoenix Media/Communications Group of Boston, Massachusetts, including the Portland Phoenix and the now-defunct Boston Phoenix, Providence Phoenix and Worcester Phoenix. These publications emphasize local arts and entertainment coverage as well as lifestyle and political coverage from a liberal perspective.

The papers are somewhat similar in format and editorial content to the Village Voice.[1]


  • History 1
    • Origin 1.1
    • Expansion 1.2
    • Merges and closures 1.3
    • Archiving 1.4
  • Radio 2
  • Awards 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6



The Phoenix was founded in 1965 by Joe Hanlon, a former editor at MIT's student newspaper, The Tech. Since many Boston-area college newspapers were printed at the same printing firm, Hanlon's idea was to do a four-page single-sheet insert with arts coverage and ads. He began with the Harvard Business School's newspaper The Harbus News. A student there, James T. Lewis, became Hanlon's advertising manager.

Boston After Dark began March 2, 1966. Theater enthusiast Larry Stark began contributing theater reviews with the second issue. When the insert idea did not pan out, the trio continued Boston After Dark as a weekly free paper.

A year after the launch, Hanlon sold off his half to Lewis. For three years, Boston After Dark kept the four-page format, with Lewis as publisher, Jane Steidemann as editor, Stephen M. Mindich as ad salesman and Stark as full-time theater critic and copy editor, plus film reviews by Deac Rossell, who later went on to become head of programming at London's National Film Theatre.


As the paper expanded, Mindich acquired a half interest. Stark quit in 1972 and began reviewing for the rival Cambridge Phoenix, which had begun October 9, 1969, started by Jeffrey Tarter. The first managing editor of the Cambridge Phoenix was April Smith, who later became a novelist (Good Morning, Killer) and TV writer-producer (Cagney & Lacey, Lou Grant, Nightmares & Dreamscapes).[2]

Following a two-week writers' strike in August 1972, the Cambridge Phoenix was sold to Boston After Dark. Mindich's merger then became known as The Boston Phoenix, with Boston After Dark used as the name for the paper's arts and entertainment section, as well as the nameplate for a free edition of the Phoenix distributed on college campuses in Boston. In the conflicts between writers and management, ousted writers immediately started another weekly, The Real Paper (which began August 2, 1972 and continued until 1981), while management continued the Boston Phoenix.

In 1988, the company that owns the Phoenix, Phoenix Media/Communications Group, bought a similar publication in neighboring Rhode Island called the NewPaper, which is now the Providence Phoenix. In 1999, PM/CG branched out into Portland, Maine by creating the Portland Phoenix. That same year the nameplate changed from Phoenix B.A.D. to The Boston Phoenix. From 1992 through 2000, there was also a Worcester Phoenix, but it folded due to Worcester's dwindling arts market.

In 2005, the Phoenix underwent a major redesign, switching from a broadsheet/Berliner format to a tabloid format and introduced a new logo in order to increase its appeal to younger readers.[3]

Towards the end of its existence, The Phoenix had a weekly circulation of 253,000, and its website featured 90% of the paper's content, as well as extra content not included in the paper.[4]

Merges and closures

On August 1, 2012, it was announced that Stuff Magazine and the Boston Phoenix newspaper would merge and the result would be a weekly magazine to be called The Phoenix, to debut in the fall of 2012.[5] The first issue of the new, glossy-paper Phoenix had a cover date of September 21, 2012.[6] On March 14, 2013, the publisher announced that the Boston Phoenix would fold effective as of the March 15, 2013 print edition, though the Portland and Providence papers would be unaffected.[7] In October 2014, The Phoenix announced that their Providence paper would also cease publication, with last issue being the October 17 issue.[8]

The Boston Phoenix published its last issue on March 14, 2013. A statement from publisher Mindich in that issue blamed the 2007 financial crisis and changes in the media business, particularly the downturn in print advertising revenue, as the reasons for the closing.[9]


After the closing of the Boston Phoenix and the Providence Phoenix, Mindich reassured the public that the websites would be maintained, and the online and print archives would be preserved. Sometime in 2014, the websites ceased to function and when they did start to come back in 2015, the sites responded slowly and intermittently.

There is currently and effort underway by a Boston area university to be the permanent home of the Boston Phoenix archives. This would include the full print and Web content, online and searchable.[10]


Over the years, PMCG acquired radio stations in Boston, Portland and Providence, notably the Boston alternative rock radio station WFNX. The company owned stations serving Metro Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine. The radio stations covered the same music, arts and political scene as the paper and sold to many of the same advertisers. The Maine station, WPHX, was sold to the owner of WXEX in 2011, while on May 16, 2012, the over the air signal and broadcast tower for the Boston station WFNX was sold to Clear Channel Communications and New Hampshire station WFEX has been sold to Blount Communications, the latter two transactions subject to FCC approval. Following FCC approval of the sale, WFNX stopped broadcasting on Tuesday, July 24, 2012; the webcast ended in May of 2013. Former WFNX DJs and personalities Julie Kramer, Adam 12, Henry Santoro, and Paul Driscoll joined and formed Radio BDC, another internet radio station.

Currently the WFNX call letters belong to the former WXRG in Athol, MA; the station simulcasts WXRV-FM 92.5 from Haverhill, MA.


The Phoenix received many awards for excellence in journalism, including honors from the New England Press Association, the Penny-Missouri Newspaper Awards, the American Bar Association Gavel Awards, and the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards.

In 1994, Phoenix classical music writer Lloyd Schwartz was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.[11]


  1. ^ Orlean, Susan (15 March 2013). "Memories of the Boston Phoenix".  
  2. ^ "April Smith (I)". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2015-01-14. 
  3. ^ Reidy, Chris (16 June 2005). "Boston Phoenix hopes to fly higher with new look".  
  4. ^ "Press Release". Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  5. ^ Nixed,, August 2012.
  6. ^ van der Pool, Lisa (1 August 2012). "Stuff Magazine Folds; Boston Phoenix to Re-Launch as a glossy". Boston Business Journal (American City Business Journals). Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Boston Phoenix to close". 14 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  8. ^ Nesi, Ted (9 October 2014). "Providence Phoenix to publish last issue next week". (TVL Broadcasting LLC). Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Mindich, Stephen (14 March 2013). "The End: Boston Phoenix publishes final issue today - Statement from publisher Stephen M. Mindich". Boston Phoenix. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  10. ^ Panne, Valerie Vande (2015-05-18). "Can the Boston Phoenix’s digital history be saved?".  
  11. ^ "About Us". The Phoenix. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 


  • Levy, Jo. : Boston's Alternative Paper Not for the Birds"The Boston Phoenix"
  • (1972–1981)The Real Paper
  • issuesPloughshares
  • Theater Mirror

External links

  • The Portland Phoenix