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New Albany Gazette in permanent office in downtown New Albany

New Albany Gazette staffers welcomed about a hundred visitors Thursday afternoon to the twice-weekly newspapers's new permanent offices at Hamilton Place on Bankhead St. Shown left to right are Sonny Harrison, graphic designer; Donica Phifer, sports editor; Dennis Clayton, sports writer and ad representative, J. Lynn West, editor; David Johnson, managing editor; Tammy Hill, office manager; and Lisa Bryant, general manager.

New Albany, MS- New Albany’s twice-weekly newspaper, the New Albany Gazette, is in its new permanent home.

The Gazette staff greeted about 100 visitors to its open house Thursday afternoon, November 10th, in its new quarters on the street level of Hamilton Place on Bankhead Street. The paper, believed to have been founded about 120 years ago in the last years of the 19th century, had been housed for several months in temporary quarters in a shopping center on Highway 30.

Former New Albany Gazette building is now owned by Barnes Crossing Chevrolet.

Former New Albany Gazette building is now owned by Barnes Crossing Chevrolet.

The Gazette had vacated the large building on Carter Avenue, built in 1972 by New Albany attorney and businessman Bill Rutledge when he was the owner and publisher of the paper.

Rutledge sold the New Albany Gazette to Landmark Corporation in the late 1970s.

Two years ago Landmark sold the newspaper to Journal, Inc., publisher of the Daily Journal in Tupelo and several non-daily publications, in north Mississippi and Tennessee.

The paper had been printed in New Albany for about 40 years on a Goss Community web offset press, which Rutledge installed when he owned the paper.

When Journal, Inc. bought the Gazette, all of the paper’s composing, printing, distribution operations and some of its management functions were moved to the Journal plant in Tupelo. Thus, most of the building on Carter Avenue, which included space and equipment for all those relocated functions, as well as the paper’s, bookkeeping, news and advertising functions, was vacant. The press and other production machinery were moved out of the building and the structure was sold to Barnes Crossing Chevrolet, the fast-growing automobile dealership next door.

The consolidation of the production operations of non-daily newspapers in centralized composing and printing plants is a trend that has been underway across the United States for 30 years or longer, and has accelerated since the 2008 recession. It has allowed small town papers to continue serving their communities in an industry which has seen strong economic challenges and radical changes. Such is the case with the New Albany Gazette, whose news and advertising operations are now housed in attractive,  appropriate and centrally located quarters in the heart of downtown New Albany.

Those knowledgeable of newspaper operations agree that such consolidation will allow small newspapers like the New Albany Gazette to better serve their communities in coming decades. In fact, many small newspaper operations around the country, which have failed to consolidate printing and other production operations, have failed financially and are no longer being published.

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