A touch of Cape Gazette history and changes in the air
Twenty-six years ago, on Memorial Day weekend in 1993, a team of eight published the first edition of the Cape Gazette. Trish Vernon and I borrowed a total of $50,000 from family members to get the paper started. We continue as the sole owners of Cape Gazette Ltd. Our generous family members are happy the Cape Gazette has been successful and that we repaid the loans.
That original team of eight, listed on what is known as the masthead on our Viewpoints page, included Trish as editor, myself as publisher, Steve Hoenigmann as news editor, Denise Marshall as reporter, Dave Frederick as sports editor, Kathy Emery as office manager, Robert Prengle as photographer and Cat Tanzer Rader as our production department. In addition to Trish and me, Fredman, Kathy and Cat are still part of the Cape Gazette team, although some titles have changed. Cat is now our web manager and Fredman is sports editor emeritus.
The first edition of the Cape Gazette included 36 pages, one column of classified ads, a handwritten tide table, and a number of other news and advertising items that continue in the Cape Gazette.
After the first edition appeared, a local resident stopped me on the street. “I see you’re starting a new newspaper. We already have two local papers. Do you really think there’s room for a third?”
It didn’t take me long to answer. “There may not be room for three,” I said. “But I’m pretty sure there’s room for this one.”
The list of people on the masthead for our 176-page Memorial Day weekend edition in 2019 numbered 50. It takes every one of them to fulfill our mission of publishing two newspapers each week, our Beach Paper in the summer months, our website which is updated constantly and which generates - according to Google analytics - more than 1.5 million pageviews per month, and a wide range of special publications for this vibrant market we call Delaware’s Cape Region.
There’s nothing constant but change. It’s pretty much what keeps us in business. Those who keep an eye on our masthead will soon notice a few changes at the Cape Gazette.
Kathy Emery has announced a well-deserved retirement after her 26 years as office manager, bookkeeper, human resources coordinator, and a whole lot more. Her understudy, Charity Vernon, is moving into Kathy’s position.
Trish and I have named Sales Manager and Associate Publisher Chris Rausch as General Manager and Co-Publisher. Chris will oversee the diverse business aspects of the Cape Gazette and collaborate with Trish on day-to-day management of the operation and future planning. He will also continue as a member of the Cape Gazette’s editorial board.
Trish is taking on additional responsibilities as well. She will top off our masthead as Editor and Co-Publisher, collaborating with Chris on all aspects of Cape Gazette management.
As for me - Dennis - I’m joining Fredman in the emeritus ranks. As Publisher Emeritus, I plan to continue writing this column as long as I can keep it relevant to Delaware’s Cape Region. I’ll also participate on the editorial board, and provide stories and photos when they come my way. I’ve always believed content is king and want to keep after that.
Trish and I will continue in our roles as vice president and president of Cape Gazette Ltd., respectively, and help ensure the values that have guided our decisions through the years remain intact.
Trish wrote the opening editorial in that first edition of the Cape Gazette 26 years ago. It’s amazing to me how appropriate and timely it still reads today. Here’s the closing paragraph of that editorial:
“Our most sacred mission is to publicize the positive efforts, activities and attainments in our community, which are all too often overshadowed in the media by the negative and sensational. We plunged into this endeavor with the belief our goals would be shared by many, and we have been overwhelmed by the show of support and good will. We will do our best to meet your expectations.”
As always, thanks for being Cape Gazette readers.