Vermont Newspaper That Sought New Owner Through Essay … – Forbes

Hardwick Gazette publisher Ross Connelly spent nearly 31 years putting out a weekly community newspaper. He sold the paper Friday to a man who tried to win his giveaway essay contest.  (2011 AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

The Hardwick Gazette, the rural Vermont weekly that unsuccessfully sought a new owner through an essay contest last summer, has been sold.

The buyer is one of the people who tried to win the contest.

Publisher and owner Ross Connelly announced an essay contest last June that had an unusual prize: the newspaper itself. Contestants merely had to explain why they wanted to run a community newspaper that had been around since 1889.

When the contest failed to attract enough entries to make it financially viable, Connelly extended the deadline. After that effort failed, he turned to Kickstarter to raise money to save the paper, but that campaign did not succeed either.

One of the essay contestants was a man from Stamford, Connecticut, named Ray Small. He and his wife Kim became the owners when the sale closed last Friday, Feb. 17.

The terms of the purchase were not disclosed, although Connelly said last year that he needed 700 entries paying $175 each for the transfer by contest to be “financially viable.” That figure would have been $122,500.

Small was one of “close to a dozen” of the contestants who followed up with an inquiry about buying the Gazette, Connelly wrote in his final issue of the newspaper, published last Wednesday, Feb. 15.

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