Online news service plans to expand Linn County coverage

This website marks the rebirth of the publication the Linn County Journal.

The original Linn County Journal was published in the 1990s by my wife Charlene and I to serve residents in Linn County, Kan.

That magazine-like publication was printed monthly and was meant to fill a news gap created by two local newspapers, neither of which did a good job of covering news in Linn County.

Back then, there were many people who were dissatisfied with the Pleasanton-based local newspaper. Aside from publishing a few county and municipal government stories and an occasional feature, it was propped up by running legal notices.

The Journal suspended publication after a couple of years, and I began covering Linn County as a freelance writer and editor for the Miami County Republic and, eventually, the Osawatomie Graphic newspapers.

In addition I served as the editor of the Louisburg Herald shortly after that publication was acquired – along with the Graphic – by Miami County Publishing Co. in Paola.

So my experience in community journalism is extensive.

But journalism also became a family business. After I began teaching journalism and English at Prairie View High School, Charlene took over writing for the Graphic and then the Republic as those two newspapers and the Herald merged into a single publication, the Miami County Republic.

So why revive the Linn County Journal now? Because several people who are unhappy with local coverage have encouraged us to start a newspaper, and I have long seen the need for a competitive news source.

Starting a news source even 10 years ago would have been tough. The cost of printing a newspaper makes most small-town publications an iffy financial venture, and printing costs have closed all but a few printing companies.

And 10 years ago most people still weren't ready to get their news from the Internet. Large and small newspaper companies struggled trying to print a newspaper and find ways of making enough money providing online news.

But much has changed since then. Now a large number of readers get all their news online. We believe that we can provide a competitive product that provides readers better coverage of county and state news with timely updates to news as it happens.

We look for this project to start slowly but gain momentum as we go along. We are willing to do the work to make it successful. And we are dedicated to making this a long-term venture that will become an important part of the dialogue that happens in Linn County.

Finally, we're both looking forward to connecting again with the people who make this county great.

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