COVINGTON— Two community newspapers that have been covering much of St. Tammany Parish and surrounding areas since the mid-1970s will fold at the end of the month.

The St. Tammany News, which publishes The News Banner and the Slidell Sentry News, said Thursday it will print the last editions Feb. 27.

“The newspapers have been in direct competition with many publications and because the parish is connected to metropolitan New Orleans, the newspapers have had a tough time finding the sense of community that a community newspaper needs in order to be successful,” said John Mathew, president and CEO of Wick Communications, the newspapers’ parent company in Arizona.

Wick Communications started the Slidell paper in 1975 and purchased the News Banner a year later. The two newspapers operated independently until 2005, when they combined staffs following Hurricane Katrina.

When the papers fold, 24 positions will disappear with them. Mathew said employees will get severance and help in finding jobs elsewhere.

Mathew said Wick Communications’ four other properties in Louisiana — L’Observateur in LaPlace, The Daily News and PN Printing, both of Bogalusa, and The Daily Iberian in New Iberia — will remain in operation.