After more than a decade of providing community news coverage to Urbana, Ijamsville, Green Valley and Monrovia, The Town Courier publisher has made the difficult decision to shut down The Town Courier. After close to a year of struggling advertising sales, this is the last issue of The Town Courier to hit newsstands.
“Losing our local newspaper is a great tragedy for Urbana,” said Ellen Georgi, social studies department chair at Urbana Middle School. “Reading the newspaper was quite a treat to find local news and names each month.”
The paper launched in February 2005 as a 24-page newspaper at just 3,500 copies. Quickly, The Town Courier grew to 7,500 copies and 40 pages — sometimes in two sections. In the past year, advertising lulls have brought the paper back to 24 pages.
“We started the Urbana Town Courier because it was one of the fastest growing new towns in the area,” said Publisher Diane Dorney. “In the inaugural issue, I mentioned that Urbana suffered from from a “town” identity crisis and that was how we felt the Courier could help.” In one of her first columns, a series she titled “Our Voice,” Dorney states that the goal was to provide a community forum and to “connect the neighborhoods that formed a nucleus around a center through their shared schools, businesses and municipal government.”
More than 10 years later, it appears The Town Courier has fulfilled that role and according to community members who found out the Courier was closing — much more.
“The paper showcased those ‘movers and shakers’ in Urbana who worked tirelessly to better the community — especially those who championed causes which benefited children and students. It really had everything: the latest news, business, sports, features, medical advice, book reviews, and politics,” said Patsy Beckman, a Middletown, Md., resident and former Town Courier staff. “I would love hearing residents say, ‘Everyone in Urbana reads The Courier. It is a great little paper.’”