After a run of seven and half years, the Gering Citizen, which published its first issue on May 20, 2009, will close its doors this month. The story you are now reading is carried in the final edition which you hold in your hands, dated Dec. 2, 2016.
In light of this decision and concern for loyal subscribers to the Citizen, Publisher Lisa Betz-Marquez issued this statement:
“We studied this move long and hard, yet ultimately, a light at the end of the tunnel was our guide. While we love our community, and were especially proud to represent Gering and her interests, telling the stories of our community’s people and sharing ideas with our readers, it is difficult to run a quality newspaper in a small town, especially in a community so well represented by other newspapers. Finding qualified journalists and salespeople has been one of our greatest challenges. Good journalists don’t grow on trees, nor do good sales people, and the work fell upon few shoulders here at our offices on 10th Street. During the life of our newspaper, vacations have been unheard of, with no foreseeable change. We have thoroughly examined options, and have not come to this decision lightly. We have enjoyed telling your stories, yet it is time for goodbye, and for new beginnings for each of us at the Citizen.”
During its tenure, Gering Citizen consistently won awards from the Nebraska State Press Association in its annual Better Newspaper Contest in the Class B Weekly category. Among them were first place awards for Best Editorial, Best Editorial Page, General Excellence, Best Personal Column (three times), In Depth Reporting, Specialty Pages, Sports Pages, Special Section, and many advertising design awards.
The Gering Citizen was founded by Jim Headley in 2009, at a time when community members feared the Gering Courier, the valley’s first newspaper, would be shuttered in favor of an expanded Scottsbluff Star-Herald. Both newspapers are owned by Berkshire-Hathaway, whose flagship newspaper is the Omaha World-Herald. In its seventh month of existence, Headley sold the Citizen to Nina Betz and to then, Lisa Betz. Nina has served as columnist, bookkeeper and office manager, while Lisa has split her time between publishing duties, advertising, and overseeing the editorial process. The face of the editor has changed five times. After Headley, Dawn Bowen, Lisa Betz, Kay Grote and Frank Marquez have all taken turns making important decisions about stories which they believed would be most valuable to you.
The Gering Citizen was also known as the headquarters for the SAFE Ride Oregon Trail Days program, which since 2011, provided safe rides to residents and visitors to evening events during the annual celebration. The Gering Citizen also spearheaded the revival of the Oregon Trail Days Street Games with its popular marshmallow spitting contest.
Other original staff members included mainstay Jerry Purvis, News Editor and Senior Reporter; Randy Henry, Sports Writer/Photographer; Columnists Tim Nolting and Deb Nolting; and Hale Multimedia, which created the Gering Citizen website and provided technical support in sustaining our online connection with readers. Betz-Marquez also wanted to thank the numerous part-time reporters and photographers who have helped the newspaper along the way, and Ken Kurtz at Spectrum Photography for being a strong supporter of the paper.
Gering Citizen has served as newspaper of record for the City of Gering, City of Terrytown, City of Minatare, as well as Minatare Public Schools, and Gering Public Schools.
Subscribers can visit the 10th Street office on Tuesday afternoons from 12 noon to 6 p.m. or on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through December 21, 2016, to obtain a refund of the balance remaining on their subscription. Our of area readers can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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