The Carthage Press website reports that the Press will be closed Wednesday as it completes its move to its new location on Central Avenue.
I've already spent a considerable amount of space talking about this move. It's sad that a newspaper that has used its editorial page in years past to promote Carthage downtown and city business interests is moving its headquarters to the land of the fast food restaurants.
The reason given- quite simply, the Press operation is no longer large enough to merit operating out of a three-story building. The printing press was shut down and sold for parts so the Press could be printed at Neosho. The composing room was shut down (though as far as I know, none of the workers were sold for parts) and that is now also being done at Neosho. The area where workers once placed inserts into The Press is no longer necessary since that job is being done at Neosho. You get the picture.
During the same time in which its editorial page has continued to extoll the virtues of home shopping and the home economy, the Press employees (what remains of them) have had to watch as nearly every aspect of their business has been outsourced to Neosho, where the regional manager for Liberty Group Publishing, Neosho Daily News Publisher Randy Cope, has his home and office.
As a person who spent nearly 10 years as a reporter and editor at The Press, I remember vividly how important its location was to my work. I was only a couple of blocks from the square, City Hall, the courthouse, the Chamber of Commerce office, and the police station. The Sheriff's Department was only a little further away. The high school and the superintendent's office were even closer.
When I walked to and from these locations, it gave The Press more visibility and reinforced its image as part of the community, something this recent move will no doubt damage. With this change of location, The Carthage Press, thanks to Liberty Group Publishing, has completed its move away from being a vital part of the community. I am sure we will see more efforts by the Press officials (the ones who are based in Carthage) to be included in the fabric of Carthage. I wish the people success, though I don't know very many of them any more.
It's a sad day for community journalism.
My first Halloween in Joplin was an interesting one. I wasn't sure which night the kids would trick or treat and I forgot about it until late Saturday afternoon, so I turned off the lights and worked on my computer in the dark Saturday. It didn't matter. As far as I could tell, the kids were not coming to the apartment complex where I live.
On Sunday, I visited my parents in Newtonia and I didn't get back to Joplin until about 8 p.m. so I figured I was safe from trick-or-treaters.
I was wrong.
The knock came on my door shortly after 8:30. Five people were standing there, four of them with their bags filled with candy, expecting more. I felt bad, telling them I didn't have any. I told them and then waited for that inevitable retribution...the trick.
Instead, the kids began reaching into their bags and gave me candy. I didn't quite know what to say. Of course, two of the kids were in my eighth grade English classes at South. Another one, the one without the bag, was in my class last year. The other two were smaller.
I almost went to the refrigerator to get them some cole slaw and potato salad. (Just kidding.)
Please don't tell me about the evils of the younger generation. I see evidence to the contrary nearly every day.