- Associated Press - Friday, June 12, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - Post Community Media LLC, which is affiliated with The Washington Post, announced plans Friday to close some suburban weekly newspapers in Maryland and sell others in that state and Virginia.

The company told employees that The Maryland Gazette will cease publishing its two editions in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties June 18 after no buyer was found for the weekly papers. The company declined to disclose how many employees would be affected.

Post Community Media was part of the Washington Post Co. that was sold to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos in 2013.

The Maryland Gazette has been publishing for 56 years since it began in Rockville in 1959. Circulation grew to 200,000 when the papers shifted to free distribution in the 1980s. The Washington Post bought an 80 percent stake in the company in 1992 and acquired the company in full in 1993. Circulation grew to 550,000 with editions in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Frederick counties, according to a history of the publication. The Frederick edition was closed in 2013.

“We have made a sincere and earnest effort to keep our two free community newspapers financially viable,” executives Dennis Wilston and Mike McIntyre wrote to employees in an email Friday. “However, as we have seen across the country with suburban papers that border markets with strong major metro papers, even extensive expense reductions and the development of new products are not enough to offset declining advertising revenue for individual papers.”

The company’s Southern Maryland Newspapers and military publications will be sold to Adams Publishing Group. In Virginia, The Fairfax County Times will be sold to Whip It Media, which is led by the publication’s former general manager.

Post Community Media said it will distribute 60-day notices to affected employees with information on severance and benefits.

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