In a letter dated March 26, publisher Ron Harper, Jr. announced that 5thEstate.com will "shut down" on April 30, stating "Economic realities have forced a difficult decision...It's time to move on."
Harper relates: "With meticulous documentation (and, frankly, not a little ingenuity and courage), 5thEstate has provided you with the information you need to make decisions based on your best interests. And if it meant 'taking on the big boys,' well, that is something that 5thEstate has done, despite having less than a tiny fraction of the resources of the local 'establishment' media."
Harper points out: "I have personally spent endless hours, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income, thousands of dollars on equipment, copies and gas - just going to meetings. All this - so that this site could have something worthwhile reading. It is work that has been unpaid except for rare donations from readers."
However Harper does imply a possible future involvement in local journalism: "This may not be the end of our journalistic ventures in Lancaster County, however. I hope to continue with something new soon."