The February 29, 2012 front page of
The Charleston Gazette
|Owner(s)||The Daily Gazette Company|
|Headquarters||1001 Virginia St. E.
Charleston, WV 25301
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.
In 1912 it came under the control of the wealthy Chilton family, who have owned it ever since.. William E. Chilton, a U.S. senator, was publisher of The Gazette, as were his son, William E. Chilton II, and grandson, Ned Chilton, Yale graduate and classmate/protégé of conservative columnist William F. Buckley, Jr.. Ironically, the paper, otherwise on the extreme left, carried Buckley's column 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.
Charleston Daily Mail
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. A combined Gazette-Mail was published on Sundays from 1961 to 2015 and on Saturdays from 2009 to 2015. The two newspapers had different ownership and writing staffs, but jointly owned the production and distribution company, Charleston Newspapers Inc.
In 2004, the Gazette purchased the Daily Mail, with the intension of shutting it down. In May 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the owners of Daily Gazette Company for its purchase of the then rival Daily Mail's financial interests, alleging that the Daily Mail had been operated in an uncompetitive manner. The newspaper settled without trial and agreed an injunction prohibiting it from shutting down the Daily Mail for until July 20, 2015. On July 20, 2015, owners merged the Daily Mail and Gazette without prior notice and named the paper The Charleston Gazette-Mail. The "combined" paper is the legal and ideological successor to the Gazette, although a group of former Daily Mail employees produce a single editorial page which is supposed to represent what the previous paper's conservative views might have been on current topics.
Ned Chilton used to claim that the job of a newspaper was to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." The newspaper's liberal reputation was enhanced by principal editorial writer and columnist L.T. Anderson, associate editor and two-time runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize.
Despite an almost automatic editorial support for labor unions in other industries, in 1972, the company employed strike breakers to eliminate unions of its own. The company remains non-union.
Former West Virginia Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr.,derisively renamed The Charleston Gazette "The Morning Sick Call" in the mid 1970s. This was in reference to the Gazette's reporting of constantly negative articles about life in the state.
The Gazette has always taken an editorial view in opposition to the business practices of many corporations, yet it was the subject of an injunction for anti-consumer practices in relation to the Daily Mail.
The Gazette shut down the Daily Mail without prior notice and fired about one-third of is workers.
Three days after running an editorial relative to a pension dispute between Patriot Coal and some of its former workers, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation filed a $1.3 million lien on the company because of "years of unpaid pension deposits" on July 23, 2015.