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Member Spotlight — Annapolis Capital & Maryland Gazette — April 11, 2013

With roots dating to 1727, Gazette stakes claim as America's oldest newspaper publishers.
Member Spotlight: Annapolis Capital & Maryland Gazette

Location/Website: Annapolis, Md.; www.capitalgazette.com

Twitter/Facebook: @capgaznews; https://www.facebook.com/capitalgazette

Publication Schedule: Capital: afternoon daily; Gazette: twice weekly.

Focus & History: Owned by Landmark Communications, Capital Gazette Communications publishes The Capital, Maryland Gazette, Bowie Blade-News, Crofton-West County Gazette, and Capital Style Magazine.

With Gazette roots going back to 1727, the company heralds itself as America’s oldest newspaper publishers. While the paper has been headquartered in Annapolis nearly 300 years, it’s not printed in Annapolis. The in-house presses were shuttered in 2009 in favor of a regional printing facility. The paper was headquartered on the city’s famed Church Circle until 1948; it’s been located off West Street and Gibralter since 1987.

The Capital is a seven-day operation that prints in the afternoon during the week and in the morning on the weekend. Until 1985, when the Capital added a Sunday morning edition, Navy football and basketball recaps, as well as prep sports and any weekend news that took place after Friday evening were reported in Monday’s edition.

Philip Merrill, the paper’s former publisher, was the driving force behind the Sunday publication. Bill Wagner is perhaps the one writer at the paper with a national following. Wagner covers United States Naval Academy athletics as is followed by Academy graduates and members of the fleet across the globe. Wagner is also the paper’s sailing writer for a region that fancies itself as the “sailing capital of the world.”

“It was goofy because Navy coverage – a column, a game story and sidebar – would run two days late,” says Capital sports editor Gerry Jackson. “Those first Sunday editions had 24-page sections being laid out by two people. If there’s an issue with Navy football, Bill’s the guy who gets the phone call from radio stations around the country.”

What’s New: “We’ve had a great run of news stories here in Annapolis, and that doesn’t include the general session that just ended,” editor Steve Gunn said. “With crime, accident and news, it’s been a newsy last month.”

On May 1, the Capital will implement a digital subscription plan. Print subscribers will receive unlimited digital access to the paper’s website via a username and password. Non-subscribers will be able to see a limited amount of pages until they’ll be asked to purchase a digital subscription. Gunn says the number is likely to be 10 pages in any month or 30-day period.

Gunn came aboard in March. During his first week, the paper suffered the unexpected arrest of online editor George “Nick” Lundskow. The paper received high marks for reporting the story from readers and peers alike.

Health writer Tina Reed and others have taken over some of the duties until a replacement can be found. The paper has publicized the position and is accepting applications until April 15.

More recently, email addresses began accompanying bylines instead of the author’s traditional title.

“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for the community to interact with us,” Gunn said. “
I’m hoping to get more feedback from the community. The email address is a way to have people engage us, comment with our reporters, perhaps share a news story idea, too.”

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