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Manassas Daily 'News & Messenger' Shuts Down

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The News & Messenger newspaper will publish its last issue in December.  
Michael Pope
The News & Messenger newspaper will publish its last issue in December.  

Beth Feeney plunks two quarters into the newspaper box, and opens the door. She takes the last copy, and reads the headline: "News and Messenger to close."

"It's so sad," she says. "We've been subscribers for years and years and years. And it's just something I've looked forward to."

The News and Messenger dates back to 1869, a long and proud history in Prince William County. It's reported on everything from the Board of Supervisors to high school sports. But like paper after paper across America, it couldn't remain profitable in a digital world. So it will put out its last issue in December.

"The media world is definitely changing, and we have to change with the times, says Bob Chase, manager of Prospero's Books in Old Town Manassas. "Many times, people wish to go beyond the sound bites, and they want to read more of a story that's only captured in a newspaper."

Up and down the streets of Old Town, people here are heartbroken about the death of their hometown newspaper, which has carried generations of wedding announcements and obituaries. City Square Café owner Robert Barolin says the end of his hometown newspaper represents the end of an era.

"It's going the way that the books are going now," he says. "We are going to e-books, and people don't turn paper anymore. For people my age, yea it will be missed. For a new generation, probably not. But the news will always be around."

One bright spot for advertising at the News and Messenger is the last few issues will be highly circulated and collected, which means they might sell a bit more advertising as a swan song.

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