Media Moves

California daily ends print publication

December 30, 2019

Posted by Irina Slav

A local California daily, Martinez News-Gazette has ceased print publication.

The Associated Press reported the news:

One of the longest-running newspapers in California printed its final edition on Sunday, ending 161 years of publishing news about the city of Martinez east of San Francisco.

Rick Jones, the Martinez News-Gazette’s editor, said he wasn’t certain whether the news outlet covering the city of nearly 40,000 will continue publishing online.

The News-Gazette began publishing in September 1858 and combined in 1906 with another local paper in Contra Costa County, the former owner’s grandson, Bill Sharkey III told The San Francisco Chronicle. At its height in the middle of the 20th century, the paper had about 50 employees but the staff shrank over the years as advertising revenue dwindled.

Jones said Gibson Publishing, which owns the paper, has not provided details on the future to the staff.

Meanwhile, the state’s oldest weekly newspaper covering two rural counties northeast of Sacramento appears to be nearing its final days.

Alejandro Serrano reported for the San Francisco Chronicle that:

After 161 years of publishing, the Martinez News-Gazette — among the longest-running papers in California, if not the longest — plans to print its final edition on Sunday, a painful end for one of the only news agencies committed to covering the city of nearly 40,000, which serves as the seat of Contra Costa County.

“We were told we were losing money, and I don’t doubt that,” said Jones, who has served as the paper’s editor for about five years as one of two full-time employees. “We knew it was coming.”

It’s uncertain whether the news outlet will continue publishing online, Jones said. Owners of the paper, he said, haven’t responded to his requests for more information on what comes next. What is certain, however, is that the journalism industry remains under threat in the Bay Area and across the country.

A study published last month by PEN America, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting free expression through the written word, found that total newsroom employment across the country — newspapers, TV, radio and digital — fell roughly 25% from 2008 to 2018, while almost half of all newspaper newsroom jobs, 47%, were eliminated.


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