One of California's longest-running newspapers ends print publication after 161 years

One of California's longest-running newspapers ends print publication after 161 years

One of California’s longest-running newspapers ended its print edition after 161 years with a final Sunday paper. 

The fate of the Martinez News-Gazette and its staff remain in limbo as the newspaper’s editor Rick Jones told the San Francisco Chronicle that he’s not sure if they will continue to publish online. He also said he is waiting to hear back from Gibson Publishing, which owns the paper, on what happens with the staff. 

“We were told we were losing money, and I don’t doubt that,” Jones told the Chronicle. “We knew it was coming.”

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The newspaper established for the city of Martinez, east of San Francisco, was first published in September of 1858 before combining with another paper to form the Contra Costa Gazette for the county, the former owner’s grandson Bill Sharkey III told the Chronicle.

The paper reportedly endorsed Abraham Lincoln’s presidential run and had a peak of about 50 employees in the mid-20th century.

A relative of the chief executive of Gibson Publishing and Westamerica Bancorporation told the Chronicle that the family would not comment about the newspaper.

Another California newspaper’s future is up in the air as well with the Mountain Messenger’s editor-publisher Don Russell planning retirement next month, which would effectively end publication, the Los Angeles Times reported. Russell has attempted to sell the newspaper but has gotten no offers.

The Mountain Messenger, which currently is based in Downieville, has published since 1853 and is known for having Mark Twain write for it under his real name, Sam Clemens, when he was hiding from the law, according to the Times.