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Akron's 'Devil Strip' Lays Off Staff

Devil Strip logo.png

The staff of Akron’s “Devil Strip” newspaper has been let go.

The Board of Directors for the free newspaper informed staff last week that there were insufficient funds to continue. The announcement was made public Monday on Twitter.

The arts and culture paper was founded in 2014 by journalist Chris Horne. He named it after the term Akronites use for the strip of grass between the street and the sidewalk. Reporting over the years has included a long-running series on financial challenges at the University of Akron, as well as lighter fare such as a continuing feature rating public restrooms.

The paper transitioned to a co-op model in 2019. Horne stepped away on a sabbatical last month, citing mental health challenges.

Some staff members took to social media following the layoffs. Economic Development Reporter Abbey Marshall said the announcement left her “speechless,” and said it’s been an honor to share the stories of Akron. Floco Torres – who left in August -- wished his former colleagues well following the announcement.

Akron City Councilman Shammas Malik also tweeted, "Very sad and shocking news for #Akron. I want to thank every person who has helped make the Devil Strip a reality over the past several years. Our city is so much better because of the stories you shared with us."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled Floco Torres' first name.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.