Portland Daily Sun publisher shuts down free paper weeks after buying Portland Phoenix

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PORTLAND — Portland Daily Sun Publisher Mark Guerringue confirmed Friday that the free newspaper will publish its final edition on Dec. 23.

The paper’s two full-time staff members will move to the Portland Phoenix, which The Sun Newspapers Group, parent company of the Daily Sun, acquired in November.

Guerringue, who was co-founder of three free daily newspapers in Berlin, Laconia and North Conway, New Hampshire, launched the Portland Daily Sun in 2009, just as the economy was failing.

He entered a Portland market that seemed ripe until billionaire hedge fund manager S. Donald Sussman purchased The Portland Press Herald and began to increase staffing at that publication.

“We planned it in 2008 when the economy was fine and the Portland Press Herald was in trouble,” Guerringue said by phone Friday. “At the time, they weren’t even covering the City Council. We figured we’d come in underneath them and be a very local, peninsula daily. … Our execution could have been a whole lot better. But in any new venture, you need a little luck, or at least not bad luck.”

Guerringue said the Daily Sun never gained a foothold in Portland and never got “a critical mass” in advertising dollars.

When he purchased the Phoenix, “it just kind of made sense to consolidate and help the Phoenix grow. It represents a much bigger opportunity than the Portland Daily Sun in its current state.”

Daily Sun editor David Carkhuff will join the editorial staff at the Phoenix, giving the alternative weekly a three-person editorial team. Daily Sun sales representative Joanne Alfiero will join the advertising staff at the Phoenix.

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