The Gazette newspapers will shut down in August, according to reports.
According to Bethesdamagazine.com, the announcement was made in an all-staff meeting held Friday at the paper’s Montgomery County office in Gaithersburg, according to sources. The letter says the closure will mean the elimination of 69 jobs, including 12 reporters and two photographers.
Ken Sain, The Gazette’s sports editor tweeted at 11:30 am Friday morning that “Gazette staff told that next week's editions are our last. Lot of great people lost their jobs today.”
The newspapers will stop printing after the June 17 edition, and company will shut down for good on August 11.
The weekly newspaper was sold to The Washington Post Co. in 1992 and was part of the sale of the The Washington Post to Jeff Bezos in 2013. The company and all local newspapers have been suffering with financial problems for many years.
In a statement Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said, "The closing of The Gazette newspapers in Montgomery County is sad news. The Gazette has long been an influential asset to our county communities and a vital source of information. My heart goes out to Gazette employees affected by this closing."
Dana Tofig, public information officer for Montgomery County Schools said, “I think this is a really sad day for Montgomery County. The Gazette has had a long commitment to covering local news and issues, including schools, government, and our many diverse communities. In education, they not only covered the big news of the moment, but spent a lot of time covering what was going on in our schools and classrooms and writing about our students, teachers, and staff. We will also miss their broad coverage of interscholastic athletics. Overall, it’s a big loss to MCPS and the community.”
“Overall, as a former ‘ink-stained wretch,’” Tofig continued, “it is sad to see what is happening to newspaper industry across the country. While I understand the financial pressures that media companies are under, it doesn’t make it any easier on those who are impacted by these closures.”
Neil Greenberger, the Legislative Information Officer for the Montgomery County Council said, “The Gazette Newspapers has been a strong voice in the Montgomery County community, particularly in its best days over most of the past three decades. There has not been a better avenue to get information to County residents—whether that information was about breaking news, government decisions, what is happening in schools or features about exciting things being done by not-so-well-known people. Their photographers have traditionally been among the best in the entire Washington region and readers were always interested in their editorials. The Gazettes also printed information that people needed to know—like obituaries, community activities, who got engaged and where you could find this weekend’s yard sales."
“A lot of people would snicker at the mention of a newspaper that you could find laying in your driveway every Wednesday," Greenberger said, "but only once it will be officially gone will many people realize how important it is to have a regular printed friend that had news for and about you. As someone who had many stories printed on The Gazette’s pages early in my career, and as someone who has greatly appreciated its value in my recent roles of trying to get information of all types to the public, I am very sad to learn that the last obituary The Gazette will publish will be its own.”
Late this afternoon, Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) issues the following statement: “Today is a sad day for all the men and women who made The Gazette a great paper and for our entire community. Local papers like The Gazette report more than just the news. For more than 50 years, The Gazette has provided a service to our area and week-by-week, they tell the story of a whole community. The Gazette has kept readers up-to-date with community events and local government and highlighted neighborhood needs and neighborhood challenges. Today’s announcement is sad news for a lot of readers in our area who saw the Gazette not just as any newspaper, but as their newspaper. Our community won’t forget the hard work and commitment of those at The Gazette.”