By Sonja Reis
Editor, Mentor, Friend & Publisher
(Journalist at Heart)
Since 1892, the town of McKees Rocks has had a newspaper of record. That ended today, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, with the shuttering of Gazette 2.0.
The decision to close a newspaper that has come to mean so much to its readers and advertisers was a challenging one. In many ways, this community-based news source should never have been brought into existence. Finances troubled the legacy startup from the very beginning with months of little or no advertising.
Advertisers have come and gone over the past six years. Yet, Gazette 2.0 could not have carried on without the support of so many mail subscribers and diehard regular advertisers. You all know who they are. You saw their ads of support issue after issue. They are loved and respected for being community-minded at a time when so many small businesses are struggling to keep the lights on.
Interestingly, the majority of those ads came from longtime small business owners in the towns of McKees Rocks and Stowe Township. The team at Gazette 2.0 provided ample coverage in other communities and picked up readership there (and even had a government representative of one town repeatedly request we begin coverage there.
We did.) but was unable to tap into enough consistent ad revenue support outside Sto-Ken-Rox to support the business model. This is nothing new being reported. The country had been hemorrhaging community-based or local news for years, even decades before this “noble experiment” was brought into existence.
These past six years have been a gift. A gift to you our readers, a gift to staffers and freelancers alike who have used their experiences here to move on to bigger and better things, and a gift to me (current editor, publisher and yes, owner) who loved almost every moment of it.
Memorial - Nov. 2
A funeral wake to celebrate the passing of Gazette 2.0 and local news, in general, will be held on Thursday, Nov. 2. The gathering will be held at 701 Yunker St., McKees Rocks and begin at 6 p.m. Much of the team – both past and present – will be on hand to share stories and celebrate the life and death of Gazette 2.0.
In lieu of flowers, we ask for donations to help cover outstanding bills and accumulated debt.
Donations can also be made by mail, P.O. Box 224, McKees Rocks, PA 15136, or through the website: gazette20.com.
Collaborating with all these hardworking people has been a blessing. When you turn the page and see article after article, photos galore and beautiful designs by this wonderful team of people you’ll understand why I call my time with them a gift and a true blessing.
Please join all of us in this celebration of the life and death of news. Food and beverages will be available. However, any alcohol-based beverages are on you.
Thank you all!