Party supporter named Palmer Chamberlain Ricketts, few in those pre-Civil War era days probably ever thought that his project would endure. In fact, numerous other newspapers had already begun and failed in the decades before Ricketts pressed his first broadsheet. But endure it has. Twenty-five years ago, my colleagues took time to reflect
upon the momentous occasion of surviving 150 years in the printing business.
It surely was a time to celebrate, as the paper succeeded after numerous wars domestic and abroad, the Great Depression and recessions too numerous to count, fires that destroyed our printing facilities and even a murder trial that attempted to stop our tenacious founder. But despite all of those adversities, the Whig has persevered.
And on Aug. 7, 2016, we will have even more of a reason to celebrate our latest milestone,
as we have survived yet more challenges.
Perhaps none have been as difficult to deal with as the advent of the internet and the public’s increasing ability to find information independent of their local newspaper. At a time when journalists and printers were just modernizing enough to use computers and digital cameras in their daily work, the world wide web opened up a Pandora’s box of opportunity.
As the Whig has time and again, though, we analyzed the changing market and
adapted to give readers what they want in the 21st century. The result?
We are by far the mostread website related to Cecil County and routinely exceed 1 million pageviews a month by more than 150,000 readers a year. For a county of about 100,000 people, we think that’s pretty good.
Meanwhile, we continue to reach the doorsteps of more than 10,000 readers with three printed editions a week. While our operation has consolidated in today’s modern workplace, our dedicated staff
of nine journalists still attend your town meetings, fundraisers, Little League games and so much more. Technology also allows us to update stories in real-time and keep readers better connected with breaking news available at their fingertips.
Dozens of other publications in Cecil County’s history books have been unable to withstand the test of time like the Whig. But why?
In 1991, publisher Tom Bradlee wrote that the Whig “is not just a newspaper, but we are an ongoing history book, a ledger for county affairs, a platform for public opinion, a watchdog of government, and most of all, we are the pictures and stories in your family scrapbooks.”
I think Tom summed it up fairly well, but I might go even a bit simpler.
The Whig is not a place or a product; it is a group of determined individuals, a community, and the stories they tell.
It always has and it always will be. Sincerely, Jacob Owens, Managing Editor