This year, the Inquirer and Mirror in Nantucket, Mass. will celebrate its 200th anniversary. And as one of the oldest newspapers in the country, it is now back in the hands of local owners after Gannett, its previous owner, sold it to 41 North Media LLC last November.
The move ends 30 years of corporate ownership.
According to the sales announcement, 41 North Media LLC is made up of “a small group of civic-minded individuals with a long-term history with the island who recognize the value newspapers play in a community.” Editor and publisher Marianne R. Stanton said David Worth, the chairman of the board of the Residences at Sherburne Commons Inc., a nonprofit senior-living community, put together the group and will serve as chair of 41 North Media. He is also a direct descendent of William Worth, who settled on Nantucket in 1662.
He also appointed to the board of directors of 41 North Media which include: Jack Griffin, operating chairman of Dennis Publishing, a U.K. media company; Laura Handman, media attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine in Washington, D.C.; and Melissa Philbrick, an attorney and former executive director of ReMain Nantucket and Stanton.
“A strong community newspaper is vitally important to the quality of life and is an important civic institution. We hope that a return to local I&M, ownership will strengthen the Inky and its contribution to the civic life of the island,” Worth said in the announcement.
Gannett was supportive of the sale, and a deal was quickly worked out. 41 North Media LLC acquired the newspaper business, its property and assets. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Stanton shared that the last local owners were her parents, Tom and Marie Giffin, who sold the newspaper in 1990. It was acquired by Dow Jones/Ottaway, and then sold to GateHouse Media, which merged with Gannett last year.
Stanton also has a long history with the paper. She started as a reporter in 1981, named editor in 1985, assumed the role of general manager in 1990, and promoted to editor and publisher in 1993. She will continue in the roles of publisher and editor. She also confirmed that all members of management will remain in place, along with its staff of 12. The paper is published every Thursday and print circulation size varies from 5,000 to 8,000.
“The people who provided the money for the purchase just wanted to make sure that Nantucket continues to have its own newspaper,” Stanton said. “We’re seeing newspapers all over the country close. Small newspapers are closing or being bought, and then you’ve got towns without any independent news.”
Inquirer and Mirror readers are thrilled about the local acquisition, she revealed.
“We’re the only newspaper here,” Stanton said. “We’re the only professionally trained journalists on the island, and it’s very important that people know what’s going on.”