The Story of The News-Gazette in Lexington, Virginia

Sep 1, 2020

The News-Gazette in Lexington, Virginia
Three generations of Matthew Paxtons — Matt Paxton (center), publisher of the News-Gazette in Lexington, Virginia, will be the 79th recipient of the esteemed James O. Amos Award at the NNA s Annual Convention & Trade Show, online, Oct. 3.
County News building, 1937
County News Back Shop 1930s

The Lexington-Rockbridge County area has a newspaper tradition almost as old as the town and county itself. Less than 25 years after the founding of the city of Lexington and Rockbridge County in 1777, Lexington had a local newspaper. That paper, called the Rockbridge Repository, began publication in the summer of 1801. Through a number of name changes and owners, the paper became the Lexington Gazette, under which it published for over 125 years. For almost 40 years, from 1924 until 1962, the paper was published by two generations of the Harlow family.

In 1884, two former employees of the Gazette, A. Poe Boude and J. Scott Moore, struck out on their own and started the Rockbridge County News. In 1887, the paper was sold to Samuel Graham and Matthew W. Paxton. Within the year, Paxton had bought out Graham, and he edited and published the County News for over 40 years. Four generations of Matthew Paxtons have published the paper up through present day.

In 1962, Matthew Paxton Jr., a current Kendal resident and publisher and editor of the Rockbridge County News at the time, and F. Houston Harlow, publisher of the Lexington Gazette, decided to merge the Gazette and the County News. Paxton took on the editor role and Harlow became the business manager. The combined paper took its name from both of its predecessors, calling itself The News-Gazette.

Today’s News-Gazette continues the 218-year tradition of community journalism, covering the county and the two cities of Lexington and Buena Vista.

Besides the obvious weekly print newspaper published on Wednesdays, The News-Gazette publishes daily updates on its website, TheNews-Gazette.com; posts on its Facebook page; produces a weekly electronic edition of the print newspaper and publishes several specialty publications including a monthly real estate guide and an annual visitor’s guide.

The company, still locally owned in the face of rapid media consolidation, takes pride in its deep local roots. Most of the staff are Rockbridge natives, and many have been with the paper for decades. Members of the paper’s staff are consistent winners of state and national awards for writing, photography and design.