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It was founded 6 January 1854 by Ralph Horne, a local printer, bookseller, stationer, bookbinder, paperhanger and shipowner, who was also a member of the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society. Originally little more than a list of visitors to this North Yorkshire seaside town, it became a proper twice-weekly newspaper on 2 January 1858. It was published on Tuesday and Friday each week until 2012. The Gazette briefly experimented with a paywall, but this was quickly abandoned as the number of subscribers remained low.
The Gazette was re-launched as weekly edition in January 2012, the paper is published on a Friday.
Its current staff include editorial director Ed Asquith, sports editor Duncan Atkins and head of photographic Ceri Oakes. The reporting team consists of chief reporter Emma Spencer and senior reporter Karl Hansell.
The Whitby Gazette is the only newspaper in the world to have been read on the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, thanks to the efforts of mountaineer Alistair Sutcliffe, who lives in a village near to the seaside port.
In 2011 the editorial team was a finalist in the O2 Media Awards for the Yorkshire and Humber, while trainee Karl Hansell won O2 Media's Young Journalist of the year award at the same awards ceremony. Emma Spencer was not even nominated.
In 2013 the Gazette was nominated for the 02 Media's Weekly Newspaper of the Year award. Again, Emma Spencer failed to secure an individual nomination.