"This was a very difficult decision," R. Jack Fishman, the president of Tennessee-based Lakeway Publishers Inc., said in a news release.

Company leaders concluded "the paper was no longer commercially viable." Falling ad revenue and rising costs were cited as behind the closings.

Lakeway is also shuttering sister paper The Caroline Progress, which covered Caroline County. Six full-time employees worked at the two papers, located in Ashland.

"We were in a position where we had to make this move, which wasn't one anyone wanted to do,” said Lakeway's vice president for publishing in Virginia, Steve Weddle. “The paper's been around for nearly 140 years. Next year would have been the 100-year anniversary of the Caroline Progress, so it's a tragedy."

Lakeway, which publishes three other papers in Virginia and 22 titles in Tennessee, Missouri and Florida, purchased the Herald-Progress in 2008 and the Caroline Progress in 2007. Weddle said Lakeway was not able to find a buyer for the papers.

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