250 News to close at end of month

The Prince George Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - Mark NIELSEN Cit­i­zen staff mnielsen@pgc­i­t­i­zen.ca

A fix­ture in Prince Ge­orge me­dia is about to go off­line.

Af­ter 12 years in the business, 250News will cease op­er­a­tions at the end of this month, co-founder Elaine Mac­don­aldMeis­ner said Friday.

Since the loss of her hus­band and long-time ra­dio per­son­al­ity Ben Meis­ner 2 1/2 years ago, “it just hasn’t been the same,” she said in a state­ment.

“250News is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week op­er­a­tion and re­quires an in­cred­i­ble amount of en­ergy and time,” she added.

“Co-found­ing 250News with Ben in 2005 will al­ways stand out as a key high­light of my life but the time has come for a change. Af­ter some in­tense soul-search­ing, this sum­mer I have come to the con­clu­sion the best op­tion for me was to close 250News.”

Orig­i­nally called Opin­ion250, it was the first lo­cal on­li­neonly news and opinion out­let. It quickly de­vel­oped a strong fol­low­ing, par­tic­u­larly among those who lis­tened to Meis­ner dur­ing his years as host of a morn­ing talk ra­dio show.

In many ways, the site fol­lowed a sim­i­lar for­mula, and be­came known as much for the con­ver­sa­tions posted be­low the sto­ries as for the sto­ries them­selves.

That said, the web­site broke some ma­jor news.

Among them was the dis­cov­ery from the city’s tax sale roll that city coun­cil­lor Cameron Stolz had not paid prop­erty taxes for three years. The rev­e­la­tion ef­fec­tively ended his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

Then-mayor Sherri Green was so up­set with 250’s re­port­ing on her choice for a con­fi­den­tial sec­re­tary that she re­fused to give it in­ter­views, al­though she still an­swered ques­tions from Macdonald-Meis­ner dur­ing scrums with lo­cal me­dia.

Reached Friday, Mac­don­aldMeis­ner was re­luc­tant to pro­vide fur­ther com­ment other than to say she doesn’t know what her next step will be other than “hope­fully to get some sleep, maybe take some time to walk my dog.”

“My ini­tial thought is just to have some time for Elaine,” she later added.

The site is not clos­ing down due to a lack of au­di­ence. Dur­ing the first eight months of this year, it drew 14.4 mil­lion pageviews spread among 3.8 mil­lion vis­i­tors, ac­cord­ing to Macdonald-Meis­ner.

“Not too bad for an en­ter­prise that many thought wouldn’t last six months,” she said.

Orig­i­nally called Opin­ion250, it was the first lo­cal on­line-only news and opinion out­let.

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