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South West newspaper reaches landmark anniversary

A weekly newspaper in Somerset is celebrating 275 years of being in print.

The Western Gazette, a Northcliffe title, was first published as the Sherborne Mercury in February 1737 and later changed its name to The Western Flying Post, finally becoming the Western Gazette in 1867.

To mark the achievement Western Gazette Media plans a year of events and a series of reports on how the industry has changed.

A series of films will be posted on its website, and readers will get the chance to experience a day in the life of a reporter, digital publisher, creative designer, merchandiser and field sales representative.

Editor Lynne Fernquest said: “During its 275 years the Western Gazette has survived two world wars, rode economic depression and evolved during unfathomable technological and media revolutions.

“Today it remains a bastion of free speech and democracy: championing the good and the brave whilst offering a voice to the afflicted in the interest of justice.

“But, above all, is the Western Gazette’s firm commitment to all of our communities. Its unrivalled news and sport coverage across Somerset and Dorset means it is read by 100,000 people every single week.

Staff at the Western Gazette celebrate 275 years

“This affection is testament to the essential and pivotal role it continues to play in society.

“In 1737 the paper made a promise to ‘furnish the best intelligence to a multiplicity of readers’, a promise it still adheres to. It is this ethos over 275 years that has meant the Western Gazette continues to be at the heart of all things local.”

When the first issue of the Sherborne Mercury was printed George II sat on the throne, just five million people inhabited the British Isles and the Russians were at war with the Ottoman Empire.

At the turn of the 20th century the paper laid claim to be ‘the Premier Provincial Weekly Newspaper of England’, and claims to boast an unbroken record of weekly distribution with 14,300 weeks of consecutive publication.






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  • February 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Congratulations to the Western Gazete on 275 years. I designed and subbed the glossy magazine produced to mark the 250th anniversary
    – was that really 25 years ago? It’s still a great newspaper – full of local news and features – and that is what matters most to local readers. Well done to all concerned. [email protected]

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  • March 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Lynne, you refer to “unrivalled news and sport coverage across Somerset and Dorset”. Have I missed a development in Western Gazette land? I thought the paper had pulled out of all its Dorset patches apart from Sherborne last year without bothering to inform its loyal readers.

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