Monday, I offered a critique of the Saturday Lamar Democrat, noting its lack of Lamar stories.
The Thursday, July 28, Liberal News, the other Barton County newspaper, had far more coverage of Lamar and the county on page one than its more celebrated competitor, even though much of the page was, of course, devoted to Liberal news.
The Liberal News is a newspaper buried in the 1950s. Nary a photo appears on the first page, but it is jam packed with local items, including everything from Liberal school enrollment, to class reunions, to school supply lists, and benefits for families in need.
The Lamar coverage included an article, sent in from MU, about the upgrading of the weather station in Lamar, and the report on the last meeting of the Barton County Historical Society. I will grant you, no one is going to mistake this for weeklies like the Webb City Sentinel or the Lawrence County Record in Mount Vernon, but it does have a good idea of what the word "local" means.
On a critical note, however, the meat and potatoes news, government, business, and records are not featured in the News, and at four pages, it seems more or less just to be in existence to run legal advertising. It's difficult for a small newspaper to survive with such a limited advertising base. It seems like it was about 1987 when the Washington Post featured Liberal in its weekly magazine as one of three "dying" cities that it profiled.
All right. Forget what I just said. While I was at the Liberal News office today, I took out a subscription and picked up the last few weeks of the newspaper. I now notice that the Barton County Historical Society meeting that ran on page one on July 28, was what the people in TV call an encore presentation...the same story ran on page one July 21.