June 26, 2017 10:54 AM

Biz pub will remain active through July's Top 50 issue and Aug. 16 Top 50 luncheon; Acadiana Lifestyle, Bon Temps, Lafayette Planner Guide and related entities not affected.

The Independent's inaugural issue, published Aug. 15, 2003.

IND Media announced that it will publish the final edition of its daily newsletter, TheINDsider, on Friday, June 30. The move effectively ends publication of The Independent (theind.com), which was founded in 2003 as an alternative newsweekly and converted to an online-only presence earlier this year.

The Lafayette-based media entity’s founding co-publishers, Steve May and Cherry Fisher May, also confirmed in the June 23 announcement that they plan to suspend operations of business publication ABiz after the July issue featuring Acadiana’s Top 50 Private Companies.

The ABiz Top 50 Luncheon, produced annually by IND Media subsidiary INDEvents, is slated for Wednesday, Aug. 16, at the Cajundome Convention Center at noon. Keynote speaker will be non-partisan political pollster Dr. Ron Faucheux. In a new twist, this year’s event will be produced as a fundraiser for Moncus Park at the Horse Farm, with 50 percent of ticket sales being donated to the nonprofit organization.

This INDEvents production aims to serve as a new fundraising model for IND Media’s B2B franchise, a model that is still under development.

IND Media’s new arts and culture magazine, The Current (thecurrentla.com), will immediately suspend publication while exploring an ownership restructuring that would allow it to resume operations.

Additionally, IND Media Associate Publisher Odie Terry will continue to produce Bon Temps, the Lafayette Planner Guide and related niche publications.

Acadiana Lifestyle and its related publications are not impacted by these changes.

The Mays noted that readers should expect limited but continuing coverage of major stories (e.g., the effort to recall City Marshal Brian Pope and his upcoming criminal trial, as well as this news organization’s ongoing public records lawsuit against Third Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Candyce Perret) on respective IND Media FaceBook pages and other social media platforms.

Key personnel with the publishing group are exploring the possibilities of an online-only news product, potentially doing so as a nonprofit journalism organization. They hope to release more details on that venture later this year.

“The media landscape everywhere is being redefined,” said Co-Publisher Cherry Fisher May. “We are certainly not immune to those challenges.”

She added that the local economic headwind — brought on by a prolonged downturn in the oil and gas industry — has made the news publishing environment all the more difficult.

“Our staff is among the best in the business, and we’re immensely proud of the work they do,” Fisher May said. “We also appreciate the tens of thousands of readers and loyal advertisers who have supported our mission. It’s time to close this chapter in our long publishing career while we explore potential options for our future.”