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Member Spotlight: Easton Star-Democrat

Member Spotlight: The Star Democrat

Location/Website: Easton, Md.; www.stardem.com

Twitter/Facebook: @stardem_news; www.facebook.com/StarDemocrat

Publication Schedule: Six days a week (Sunday through Friday)

Focus & History: The Star Democrat serves readers in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s central Eastern Shore. Politically, the paper covers the 36 and 37th District of the Md. General Assembly and the first District of U.S. Congress. Local news, county and town government are the staples of the news section. Local high school and youth sports are also staples of the Star Democrat, which includes nine high schools playing a full slate of varsity sports on the mid-shore.

The paper has been published during every U.S. presidential administration beginning with John Adams’ presidency. The Star Democrat has published in all but one of the nation’s major wars, and one of its editors — a name not readily known by the paper’s current editorial leadership — was arrested and ultimately exiled by Federal troops during the Civil War. Thomas K. Robson was editor of the Easton Star during the Civil War, but it’s not known if Robson was the deposed editor.

Thomas Perrin Smith founded the Republican Star, known as the Eastern Shore Political Luminary more than 200 years ago. The paper went through various transformations to become The Star Democrat.

The Star Democrat has survived the destruction of two fires that claimed the Star-Democrat’s offices and equipment. The paper was once wrecked by a mob of vandals.

On its’ 175th anniversary in 1974, the paper converted from a weekly to five times a week daily. In October 1988, the newspaper launched its Sunday edition, The Sunday Star, now one of its two largest issues of the week. In 1996, The Star added its Web edition, www.stardem.com.

The Star Democrat has been located at their Air Park Drive location since fall 1978, when the paper left downtown Easton.

What’s New: “Like most papers, we’re undergoing some substantial changes in the way we address our advertising and editorial departments,” said ACM-Chesapeake regional vice president and publisher David Fike. “The goal is to make our staff more mobile, so we’ve made a hardware investment in our editorial and advertising departments by adding Mac laptops. They already have iPhones.”

The Star Democrat has a new editor. John Griep ascended to the position from managing editor. Griep has been with the paper for 19 years, lives in Caroline County and is a graduate of Washington College (Chestertown, Md.)

Shauna Thompson, who came aboard in the first two months of the year, is the Star-Democrat’s new business editor. A native of Queen Anne’s county, Thompson was previously a reporter at the Bay Times, an affiliated weekly paper under the ACM-Chesapeake umbrella.

“The paper’s biggest story has been the planning of a new hospital north of Easton,” Griep said. “Two of the five counties we cover have opposed the location of this new, regional medical center. The current hospital is in downtown Easton.”

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