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Charleston Gazette

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Charleston Gazette

The Charleston Gazette
The February 29, 2012 front page of
The Charleston Gazette
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner The Daily Gazette Company
Publisher Elizabeth Chilton
Editor James A. Haught
Founded 1873
Headquarters 1001 Virginia St. E.
Charleston, WV 25301
United States
Circulation 40,671 Daily
68,940 Sunday[1]
Official website

The Charleston Gazette is a five-day morning newspaper in Charleston, West Virginia. It is published Monday through Friday mornings. On Saturday and Sunday mornings the combined Charleston Gazette-Mail is published, which is, more or less, similar to the Gazette.

The Gazette was established in 1873. At the time, it was a weekly newspaper known as the Kanawha Chronicle. It had a couple of other owners and names—The Kanawha Gazette and the Daily Gazette—before its name was officially changed to The Charleston Gazette in 1907.

The Chilton family acquired formal interest in the paper in 1912. William E. Chilton, a U.S. senator, was publisher of The Gazette, as were his son, William E. Chilton II, and grandson, W. E. "Ned" Chilton III, Yale graduate and classmate/protégé of conservative columnist William F. Buckley, Jr.. The paper carried Buckley's column, which was 180 degrees politically different from all other material in the paper, until Buckley's death.

In 1918 a fire destroyed the Gazette building at 909 Virginia St. The newspaper was moved to 227 Hale St., where it remained for 42 years.

Under a consolidation agreement, which eventually became a Joint Operating Agreement with the afternoon Charleston Daily Mail, the newspaper merged its production and distribution with that newspaper from 1961-2004. The two newspapers had different ownership and writing staffs, but jointly owned the production and distribution company, Charleston Newspapers Inc.

A year later, following the death of Robert L. Smith, W.E. "Ned" Chilton III was named publisher of the Gazette. He served in that position until his death in 1987.

During that time he earned a well-deserved reputation as a "firebrand liberal." Ned Chilton used to say that the job of a newspaper was to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." However, in 1972, the newspaper lost some of its blue-collar workers who went on strike in an attempt to prevent the coming of electronic printing.

Former West Virginia Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr., a staunch Republican who both won and lost an election to John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV, derisively renamed The Charleston Gazette "The Morning Sick Call". This was in reference to the Gazettes reporting of constantly negative articles about life in the state. (Moore was later convicted by the Republican United States Attorney of income tax evasion, perjury, election fraud and taking more than $500,000 from a coal operator for state favors.)

Ned Chilton's widow, Elizabeth Early "Betty" Chilton, is now president of the Daily Gazette Co. and publisher of The Charleston Gazette. It is still a family-owned newspaper, one of the few independents still operating. The paper's editor, prize-winning journalist James A. Haught, has been with the paper for more than 50 years.

The paper has won numerous awards and received significant national recognition for a newspaper of its size. Recent efforts that have received such recognition include a series of stories that resulted in the resignation and criminal conviction of the state House of Delegates education chairman, a series on the environmental effects of mountaintop removal coal mining, a series on the state's "failed" attempts to deal with its residents suffering from mental illness, and a series on the deaths nationwide from the widespread use of methadone.

In May 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the owners of Daily Gazette Company for its purchase of the Daily Mail's financial interests, alleging that the Daily Mail had been operated in an uncompetitive manner. The newspaper settled without trial and agreed to various oversight issues.


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