Gazette to fold; affiliates sold

Daniel Leaderman//June 12, 2015

Gazette to fold; affiliates sold

By Daniel Leaderman

//June 12, 2015

Another one bites the dust.

The Gazette newspaper will shut down its Montgomery and Prince George’s County operations in early August, employees were told Friday.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: The author of this post is a former Gazette reporter.)

“After a comprehensive but unsuccessful effort to find a buyer for The Maryland Gazettes, we are sorry to report that they will cease publishing effective June 18, 2015,” management wrote in an email to staff.

But Eric Wemple at The Washington Post reported on his blog Friday that Davis Kennedy, publisher and editor of the Current Newspapers in Washington, D.C., recently offered to buy The Gazette but was turned down and never told why.

A Washington Post spokeswoman told Wemple that the company had no record of Davis’s inquiry.

Both Post Community Media, which owns The Gazette, and The Washington Post are owned by CEO Jeff Bezos.

The Southern Maryland Newspapers and The Fairfax Times, which are also published by Post Community Media, will be sold to The Adams Publishing Group and Whip It Media, respectively.

Bill Turque of The Washington Post first Tweeted about the closure Friday morning, citing a letter sent from Post Community Media to Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman.

The Gazette will shut down on August 11, and 69 employees will lose their jobs, according to the letter, posted online by Montgomery Community Media.

The letter warning of the closure was required by law, Turque wrote.

Local lawmakers and public officials offered their condolences on social media.

“Terrible news that MoCo Gazette is being shut down. Lack of high quality local reporting undermines democracy at the local level,” Tweeted state Del. Eric Luedtke of Montgomery County.

Luedtke’s fellow delegate, Kirill Reznik, Tweeted that it was sad that a county of more than 1 million people now had no newspaper to service them.

Dana Tofig, a spokesman for Montgomery County Public Schools, also Tweeted that the news was sad.

The Gazette formerly operated weekly newspapers in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Frederick Counties as well as a weekly statewide edition focusing on politics and business. The Frederick paper folded in 2013 and the statewide edition was slimmed down to focus on Montgomery County the same year.


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