The owners of the Napanee Beaver’s sister paper, the Picton Gazette, Prince Edward County’s historic community weekly, announced the sale this week of the newspaper their family has published for 46 years.
The Gazette was acquired by Earl and Jean Morrison in 1977, and helmed courageously by Mrs. Morrison, one of the only female newspaper publishers in Canada, upon Mr. Morrison’s untimely death in 1978. Mrs. Morrison died in 2019 at age 97. Since that time, the Gazette has been managed by the Morrison adult children and a dedicated team of staff.
“It is with mixed feelings that we announce the sale of a beloved family newspaper,” said the Morrison family. “But we are truly pleased to have found two committed new publishers who live in Prince Edward County and are dedicated to the Gazette’s continued success.”
Christopher Fanning and Karen Valihora, who live in Cressy, both teach English Literature, Chris at Queen’s University in Kingston, and Karen at York University in Toronto. They have five children, two in Toronto, and three enrolled at PECI. They approached the owners of the paper in 2022.
“We noticed the sale of the Gazette building, an institution on Main Street, and were worried about the future of the paper,” explained Ms. Valihora. “One of the things that drew us to the County was the Gazette. I remember one day shortly after we moved here, a picture of the high school play was on the front page, and it just drew me in, to the paper but also to the whole community.”
“Small local papers, as well as big ones, are in trouble around the world,” said Mr. Fanning. “Yet the local media in the County is thriving. It’s a sign of the vitality of this community.”
The new publishers plan to work with the staff of the paper to expand its coverage of council politics, planning and development, the arts, and local agriculture.
Their first priority is new offices for the newspaper. “Stay tuned,” said Valihora. “We are opening a newspaper office on Main Street. Just the way it is supposed to be.”
The Morrison family will retain ownership of the Beaver.