Jamestown Gazette – The First Year


The first edition of The Jamestown Gazette, The People’s Paper—the best read in town—hit the news stands one year ago, on April 11, 2011. In those 52 weeks, the Gazette has published more than a half million words and distributed nearly 160,000 newspapers, all free to our readers, throughout the Greater Jamestown area.

“The question I get asked the most,” Stacey Hannon told the Jamestown A.M. Rotary Club recently, is, ‘Why did you want to start a paper? And then people go on to ask, ‘in this economy?…in Jamestown?…another paper?’” Hannon is the publisher and owner of the Jamestown Gazette, a wholly owned division of Chautauqua Solutions.

Stacey Hannon, Owner and Publisher of The Jamestown Gazette

“I asked myself those same questions ….I knew it would be risky, financially difficult to start, at times it would be emotionally draining,” Hannon admitted. “To do it right, it would not be just a job anymore. It would have to become my life!”

Publishing a newspaper, however, is not a new idea. The first newspaper published in America was called “Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick.” It was published in Boston on September 25, 1690. Benjamin Harris, serving as both publisher and journalist, promised he would issue the paper “once a month, or, if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener.” The first issue, which filled only 3 of 4 six by ten inch pages, was the only issue Harris ever published. Publishing a newspaper is hard work.

“So, why did I start the Jamestown Gazette?” Hannon asked. “I can tell you it didn’t happen over night….. it took years before I made the final decision. As time went on I starting daydreaming about our area. After all, I grew up here and can remember Brooklyn Square when it really was Brooklyn Square. In the ‘60s My father would take me downtown to watch all the buildings being torn down…he would have tears in his eyes as we watched the crane crumble the beautiful buildings.”

After careful planning and long deliberations with local business leaders, the Small Business Development Center and anyone who would share with her how they started their companies, Hannon recalls, “I was finally ready to follow my own vision and build something useful and enjoyable for my hometown. It has been a great first year. We have worked very hard to promote ourselves and to distribute as many papers as possible in as many places as possible. We were honored by The Chamber of Commerce selecting The Jamestown Gazette as the Best New Business in 2011.”

Historians say the word “Anniversary” was first coined by ancient scholars to commemorate the feast days of Catholic saints. So, quite appropriately, The Jamestown Gazette’s 1-Year Anniversary celebration begins by giving thanks to our own “saints,” our faithful and talented writers. Their names are published on the masthead (page 3) and on the by-lines of their regular features. These are people you can trust. They are hometown friends and neighbors who have made a commitment to give you, our readers, something personal and very special every week.

“I personally salute all our contributing writers,” Hannon said. “It has been a blessing to find such talented local people who want to contribute to the Jamestown Gazette. They now have a vehicle to have their writings published and you and I have the opportunity to read them.”

According to one of America’s all time best-selling, ever-popular books, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home, first published in 1922 by Emily Post, the 1-year anniversary is called the “paper anniversary.”

The Jamestown Gazette has been proud to deliver our “Paper Anniversary” gift to our readers: an entire year of the best read in town, free every week, at our more than 200 local dealers.

By now, our readers know that Jamestown really means the “Greater Jamestown Area,” one of the most dynamic regions in all of New York State. During this year The Jamestown Gazette has discovered and spotlighted hundreds of remarkable local people—the hearts and minds who make our communities work.

The People are the news at The Jamestown Gazette. Most newspaper reporters merely jot down the day’s events and call it news. The Gazette goes deeper to introduce readers to the people who make the news. Reading about a successful business, for instance, is interesting. But getting to know the innovators, entrepreneurs and creative people who make the business work is inspiring. Along with regional news readers need to know, The Jamestown Gazette delivers a weekly mentoring message for anyone dreaming about starting their own business.

An ad in the Jamestown Gazette is also more than an ad. The advertisers on these pages represent the cream of local commerce, a network of men and women whose definition of success includes a commitment to the prosperity of their own communities. “The Jamestown Gazette is a unique business,” Hannon told a meeting of local business owners recently, “We are in business to promote your business!”

Michelle Meli, owner of Mouse House, Design & Illustration, has designed and laid out every one of the Gazette’s issues since April 11, 2011. Eye appeal, smooth flow and a readable style are marks of excellence that help make The Jamestown Gazette unique. “It’s gratifying to be a part of the Jamestown Gazette team and to watch the blank page come to life,” Meli said, reflecting on the fact that she begins her work every week with 20 totally bank pages to design and fill. Assisted by graphic designer JoEtte Fisher, Meli makes the Gazette an enjoyable read as well as the best read in town.

The saints to be celebrated for this first anniversary edition of the Jamestown Gazette also include the patient and supportive families and friends for their invaluable contributions. And, to borrow a phrase from the U.S. Postal Service, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays our faithful courier, Circulation Manger Mark Hannon (Publisher, Stacey Hannon’s husband), and Melissa Robertson, from her appointed rounds, delivering The Jamestown Gazette every Monday morning. And, because it is the advertisers who make a free paper possible, Merrill Rosen, sales executive, may be the first Saint of Commerce.

Editor, Walt Pickut, also with The Gazette since the first issue, has enjoyed the rare privilege of exploring their secrets of success with the community leaders who would rather share their “secrets” than keep them to themselves. “When everybody succeeds, even my competitors,” one local merchant recently said, “it is better for our whole community.” As the Editor of the Jamestown Gazette, it is very satisfying help expand our vibrant, local marketplaces. The Greater Jamestown renaissance is really at the core of Hannon’s dream for Jamestown and the heart of The Gazette’s editorial philosophy.

“Behind every single word or image on every page, there’s somebody who really cares about what you’re seeing in The Jamestown Gazette. The Jamestown Gazette’s newly re-designed website is the electronic expression of our “paper anniversary” celebration. Visit us at https://jtgazette.wpengine.com


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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.