The Neosho in the Neosho Post is a thing of the past.
It's just The Post now, according to Publisher Rick Rogers' message in the latest edition, which was published Wednesday. As Neosho residents know, Jimmie Sexton launched the weekly eight years and it was almost an immediate success, combining features and good news with records that included everything from birthdays to utility hookups.
It put a dent in the Neosho Daily's bottom line and eventually, Liberty Group Publishing, owner of the Daily, bought the Post, but the deal included the stipulation that the Post not be shut down for a specified period of time.
So for the past couple of years, the Post has moped along, a shell of its former self with dwindling interest and most likely, dwindling circulation. Of course, it served two purposes for Liberty. One, it was not a competitor. Two, with the Post continuing to exist, there was no room for anyone else to come in as Jimmie Sexton had and pose an economic threat to the Daily.
From the look of Wednesday's edition, Rogers and company have much more than that in mind for the Post. In his message to readers, Rogers wrote, "Now, it has come time to give The Post a new focus. The focus is to shed light on the stories, issues and people who live on our country roads, who work on our farms and who provide us with the food we eat and the goods we purchase."
While I am not sure there is enough of a rural readership to keep a newspaper going, I like the idea of differentiating The Post from the Daily.
And the first issue was a spectacular success. Rogers used his skill as a newspaper designer to give the Post a fresh, clean look, similar to the design improvements he has recently made at the Daily.
"New focus, New Look, New Post," it says across the bottom of page one. That is an understatement.
The newspaper will rely heavily on features and it is banking on two feature writers, Kay and Russell Hively, who have been among the few bright spots in the Daily in recent years. Mrs. Hively will serve as the Post's editor.
The newspaper will apparently concentrate on the areas surrounding Neosho and leave the city news to the Daily. The first issue features a mixture of features by the Hivelys, as well as a farm column from former Neosho Daily News staff writer Harlan Stark.
If anyone should be concerned, it should be my first newspaper, the Newton County News, which has gone downhill over the years (and I will be the first to tell you, I didn't do much with it either.) I would doubt that rural aspect of the newspaper will do much damage to the county's other weekly, The Seneca News-Dispatch, since it concentrates more on city and school items.
Comparing this week's Newton County News with the new Neosho Post is like comparing oranges with rotten apples.
Approximately one half of page one of the amateurish Newton County News is advertising. It does have a nice picture of the 2005 Old Mining Town Days Honored Citizen, but as usual, there is a page one story that does not belong anywhere near page one...the McGhee family reunion.
And those are the only two news items on page one.
Other than that, the newspaper is mostly filler material and politician columns, with the exception Donna Fullerton's Granby news, including city government coverage, and Wana Senter's column about Newtonia news. The people in Granby, Diamond, Fairview, Newtonia, Stella, and the other small communities in eastern Newton County need a newspaper that covers their news. They haven't had one since the days when Emery Styron, now the managing editor of the Mount Pleasant, Iowa newspaper, was in Granby.
And that is another sticking point for Granby residents. The newspaper no longer is located in Granby, it's business office, such as it is, is in Neosho.
Though the Post clearly is not designed to be a newspaper that will cover city government news or school news, well-written features could make solid in-roads in an area that has been poorly served for years.