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The Somerville Wire is latest local news outlet to close down

The Somerville Wire was founded in 2021 in an effort to stop Somerville from becoming a news desert, or an area without reliable local reporting.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

The Somerville Wire, a digital news site covering the city of Somerville, has shut down, editor Jason Pramas wrote last week.

“It has been an honor to serve the people of Somerville with news and views week to week for the better part of three years,” Pramas wrote in the site’s final article on Feb. 2. “And we’re crestfallen we have to close it down.”

The main reason the Wire was shutting down, Pramas wrote, was because of difficulties in raising money to pay for two staffers in order to sustain the outlet in the long run. The publication would have needed “to pull in at least $50,000-100,000 annually for the Wire to have a bare bones staff.”

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Pramas wrote that his duties at the outlet took away time from his other ventures, which include the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and its six-month-old news site HorizonMass, which is driven by student journalists.

“I could have tried to raise several thousand more this month and keep Somerville Wire puttering along for the better part of another year,” he said. “But it’s definitely time to close up shop.”

Pramas launched the Wire in 2021 through a project called the Somerville News Garden, which Pramas and others started in 2019 to help prevent Somerville from becoming a news desert, or an area without reliable local reporting.

During the Wire’s three-year run, the outlet published weekly news roundups and articles on topics such as rent-stabilized housing, city employees seeking salary increases, and the Green Line Extension. The news outlet had an audience of 2,000 people, Pramas wrote.

The Wire is just the latest local outlet to close. Nearly 3,000 newspapers have shuttered since 2005 as many traditional publications have struggled to adapt to declining revenue from print advertising.

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The Wire, however, showed the particular difficulties of operating a digital news startup, where leaders often have to focus on steering both the news and business sides of an operation. Pramas helped to launch a new coalition last year called the Alliance of Nonprofit News Outlets to help smaller nonprofits band together to raise funds.

Despite the Wire closing down, Somerville won’t be devoid of news coverage.

The city of roughly 80,000 people still has the Somerville Times, a weekly newspaper. Cambridge Day, which formerly published a daily newspaper in Cambridge, now publishes a weekly paper, The Week, that also covers news in Somerville. And The Boston Globe launched a newsletter in September called Camberville & Beyond to cover Cambridge and Somerville.


Aidan Ryan can be reached at aidan.ryan@globe.com. Follow him @aidanfitzryan.