This issue of the Webster-Kirkwood Times may look a lot like the familiar Times that ceased print publication at the end of March. But it is really something new.
A group of employees from the old company has purchased the newspaper. I am beginning my fade toward retirement and new explorations. I have been on the scene since the inception of this newspaper 42 years ago. It is time for me to move aside.
I will be providing some assistance to the new company, WKTimes LLC, for the next several months.
I began my journey into publications as a student taking journalism classes at Webster College, now Webster University. I had gone to two years of college in my home state of Kansas, then moved to St. Louis ,where I worked for a small downtown social service agency, and then as a taxi driver and dispatcher before returning to college.
The student paper at Webster needed a business manager. I was recruited. That experience proved valuable when I was recruited again to join two other “older” students in starting a community newspaper.
The Webster Times was born on July 13, 1978. That paper became Webster-Kirkwood Times in April of 1979. In 1992, I became majority owner of the company, which by then also published the South County Times newspaper. The West End Word was added in 2011.
I am grateful for these four decades of helping to provide local information and profiles of local personalities. It has been an often challenging, but rewarding career.
In this era of random and often unsubstantiated bits of information gleaned from our cell phones and other devices, it is even more important to have a reliable, local source in the form of a community newspaper.
Most newspapers are edited by professionals who take seriously the responsibility of sharing factual information derived from reliable sources. While you might read hearsay and opinions on the letters page, the news stories are factual to the best of our reporters’ and editors’ abilities and training.
In your local community newspaper, you will also read feature stories about local people doing interesting and sometimes important things. This service helps to weave and showcase the fabric of the communities in which we live.
The economic reality of community newspapers is that they are mostly supported by local advertising. For this model to work, the newspaper needs to attempt to deliver those messages to all of the members of its community. And for this model to continue to work, readers need to respond with their purchasing pocketbooks to the products and services advertised.
The new company will also be calling on readers to make voluntary contributions to help sustain this service.
I greatly appreciate the contributions made during recent months that enabled the company to continue a robust online news coverage while there was no print publication. Thank you!
And thank you for your support and readership these past four decades. I very much hope that support continues and grows for this new group of people rising to the challenge of making a superb community newspaper.