CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Owners of the Chesterfield Observer, a local print and online news publication, have announced their decision to close down the business, with the printing of the Feb. 1 issue as the last newspaper.
The announcement was made by owners Carol and Frank McCracken on Tuesday, Jan. 24, ahead of the publication of the Observer’s Jan. 25 issue.
“We’ve had a lot of people reach out to all of us already,” Frank McCracken told 8News. “We’ve really enjoyed working with the group of people here … they’ve shown class and grace.”
Greg Pearson originally founded the paper in 1995 to cover Chesterfield County news exclusively. In 2014, the McCrackens took over as owners and, according to their announcement, they saw “better-than-average financial performance” through 2018 and 2019.
However, the Observer was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. And although the McCrackens reportedly made efforts to keep the Observer operational — including federal assistance, business loans and corporate grants — the newspaper’s advertising revenue never recovered.
“We understand the importance of local journalism,” Frank McCracken told 8News. “These last three years … have been a real dogfight to keep the doors open.”
Last month, another local Chesterfield publication, the Village News, ceased publication with its last issue on Dec. 14, 2022.
The full statement from the Observer can be read on their website here.