Take a passel of clever writers. Give them a pile of pages, a major distribution system, and a photographer or two. Tell them, "Don't offend anyone."
What do you get?
Exactly what you'd expect, it turns out. After almost five years of publishing a slick but boring faux-alternative newsweekly, the Idaho Statesman pulled the plug on Thrive. No more fun, fun, fun articles about local sports enthusiasts. Gone are the always-positive restaurant advertorials. Poof go the column inches devoted to reprinting mainstream media movie reviews.
The various writers (who will now be sent to work alongside the reporters at the Statesman) took their time in the final issue to say why they mattered, darn it, and what they'll miss.
Word of Thrive's demise had been in the offing for weeks. Lately, the Statesman's parent, the McClatchy Company, has endured poor stock performance, and the Wall Street brokerage firm Goldman Sachs recently downgraded their stock to "sell." All of which fuels persistent, but largely groundless, rumors about whether or not they might actually sell the Boise paper.
Statesman editors avoided our calls like the plague when we tried to confirm any Thrive rumors. Reports of grumbling Thrivers trickled back. Finally, late last week, ad salespeople began telling their clients that this week's issue would be the last. In so doing, salespeople said that Thrive had become a duplicate of Scene, by re-running the same articles, photos and calendar items.
David Parker, editor, wrote in the final issue that "we're finding that we need to focus on the already-strong features sections we publish in the Idaho Statesman."
In the end, the always-capable headline writers at Thrive summed it up best, in the line over Chad Dryden's final column: "Random Acts of Narcissism."