I am closing the Gazette building at the end of the year. I hope to establish a virtual newsroom and continue to produce the paper with everyone working from home. While some technological challenges remain, I think we’re on track to get the virtual newsroom up and running. The Gazette traditionally closes for two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s, which gives us a little bit of time to work out the bugs.
The reason for closing the building is simple: we’re running out of money. COVID wiped out our ad revenues. Stopping the printed edition last year reduced our costs, but we continued to lose money. Closing the building will reduce our operating costs even more. I’m looking into selling the building. If that works out, the Gazette will have an additional financial cushion.
I am in the process of changing the Gazette legal status from a for-profit company to a non-profit corporation. Donations and grants may be part of the paper’s longer-term viability.
I remain optimistic about the Gazette’s future, but the outcome will be determined largely by the residents of the towns we cover. I could cite all sorts of research about the value of a local newspaper to its community, but the question we face is pretty straightforward: do we want to work together to keep the Gazette going?
The Gazette should be able to provide the editorial, layout, and digital publication support needed to get the paper out. However, we need volunteer journalists to write articles and take photos. One or two articles per week per town should be more than enough (depending on how many towns participate in any given week). The success of the Greensboro Gazette and Craftsbury Gazette show that it can be done.
There are many sources of news and information available these days. That said, I believe that the Gazette offers something that is valuable and is not available anywhere else. This week’s edition gives some guidelines for preparing content for the paper. I’d be happy to work with any individuals or groups that want to help out. Thanks!