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New publishers at Picton Gazette

Early Prince Edward County newspaper mastheads from the collection of Alan R. Capon.

The owners of the Picton Gazette announced the sale this week of the newspaper their family has published for the past 46 years.

The Gazette was acquired by Earl and Jean Morrison in 1977 but helmed by Mrs. Morrison, one of the few female newspaper publishers in Canada, upon her husband’s untimely death in 1978. They had purchased the Napanee Beaver in 1953.

The paper was established in 1830, first published as the ‘Hallowell Free Press’ and was the first newspaper to be published between Kingston and York (Toronto).

Mrs. Morrison died in 2019 at age 97. Since that time, the Gazette and Beaver have been managed by the Morrison adult children and a dedicated team of staff.

“It is with mixed feelings that we announce the sale of a beloved family newspaper,” stated the Morrison family in a media release. “But we are truly pleased to have found two committed new publishers who live in Prince Edward County and are dedicated to the Gazette’s continued success.”

Karen Valihora and Christopher Fanning, new publishers of the Picton Gazette.

Karen Valihora and Christopher Fanning, who live in Cressy, approached the owners of the paper in 2022.

“We noticed the sale of the Gazette building, an institution on Main Street, and were worried about the future of the paper,” said Ms. Valihora. “One of the things that drew us to the County was the Gazette. I remember one day shortly after we moved here, a picture of the high school play was on the front page, and it just drew me in, to the paper but also to the whole community.”

The two teach English Literature – Chris at Queen’s University in Kingston and Karen at York University in Toronto. They have five children, two in Toronto, and three enrolled at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute (PECI).

“Small local papers, as well as big ones, are in trouble around the world,” said Mr. Fanning. “Yet the local media in the County is thriving. It’s a sign of the vitality of this community.”

The new publishers plan to work with the staff of the paper to expand its coverage of council politics, planning and development, the arts, and local agriculture.

Their first priority is a new office for the newspaper.

“Stay tuned,” said Valihora. “We are opening a newspaper office on Main Street. Just the way it is supposed to be.”

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Ianthe Stringer says:

    Great News! Best wishes for your success!

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