On a postcard-perfect day in early October, 1996, tens of thousands of copies of The Gazette landed on the doorsteps and in the driveways of homes across Frederick County.
For the first time since The Gazette bought a tiny weekly newspaper in Mount Airy in the early 1980s, the newspaper company was expanding its reach from its Montgomery County base into a growing, suburban Frederick.
For many years, The Gazettes flourished and provided an award-winning blend of news and local sports, analysis, commentary and advertising that attracted loyal readers and businesses, offering a fresh voice and perspective on the events of the week and reflecting the communities they served.
But in recent years, the market has changed. Smaller weekly newspapers and magazines have come and gone. Soon after the turn of the century, Frederick's two daily newspapers merged into a single edition. Radio and television stations changed hands and formats, some opting for a homogenous blend of programming. The unbridled rise of the Internet has opened thousands of new information conduits and niche sites.
After a careful review of these ever-shifting market conditions, The Gazette has decided to close its Frederick County editions. This is the last edition.
In an announcement Wednesday afternoon, the chief executive of The Gazette's parent company called the decision regrettable but necessary. Karen Acton, who took over as chief executive of Post-Newsweek Media in January, 2012, said the company will continue to publish community weeklies in Montgomery, Prince George's and Fairfax (Va.) counties where the business models are strong.
While the local revenue stream in Frederick was strong and growing, the saturation of the market with various competitors did not allow for a profitable business model in Frederick County.
Our decision to leave Frederick County was a very difficult one as we recognize the importance of the role that we have played in providing news, sports and advertising to the community.
In saying farewell, we'd like to offer heartfelt thanks to our supporters – our advertisers and readers – and salute the dedicated professionals – publishers, sales representatives, editors, reporters, photographers and interns – who have passed through our doors.