Monday, June 28, 2010

Chariton Newspaper History

From the History of Lucas County 1978 book

The first settlers broke the prairie sod and established Chariton 121 years ago.  For the identical 121 years, starting with the Chariton Patriot in 1857 and the Leader, founded in 1867, have mirrored the news, week after week, without interruption.

The existing corporations have provided continuity of ownership for half the period, since 1920.  The present publisher, John Baldridge, has been associated with the newspapers for one-third of the period, since 1938.  Norval Lowe, president of the Chariton Publishing Company, for one-tenth of the time.

In 1920, the only paving in Chariton was brick, covering the square and a few adjoining blocks.  During the years the newspapers have been full participants in change with a constant objective of always working for the betterment of Chariton and Lucas County.

John Edwards and F.M. Fairbrother founded the Patriot.  In 1898, S.M. Green, publisher of the Herald, founded in 1885, bought the Patriot and the new publication was named the Herald-Patriot.

The Leader was founded as the Chariton Democrat with a name change to the Leader in 1875.  The publication became the Democrat-Leader for a period in 1883, changing back to the name Democrat until 1904, when the name again became the Leader, this time permanently.

There were many newspaper owners and editors during the years until in 1922, the Leader Publishing Company, which had purchased the Chariton Leader from H.W. Gittinger in 1920, became affiliated with the Herald-Patriot.

A new firm, the Chariton Publishing Company was formed to purchase the Herald-Patriot from Paul and W.D. Junkin who had owned it since 1913.

For economic reasons, both weekly newspapers were then printed in the Herald-Patriot plant with publication dates arranged to provide a semi-weekly service.  This system has continued unchanged for 56 years.  W.D. Allender became manager of the new jointly operated publishing organization and continued his association until his death in 1961.

Among the stockholders was Walter H. Dewey, who earlier had published the Chariton Democrat (Leader) and who had owned the Herald-Patriot for a brief period.  His heirs, Allen and Jane Dewey, still retain an ownership interest.

In the Technology of printing there have been three principal phases.  First, the setting of each letter by hand and printing on a hand-fed press; second, composition by linotype, with printing on a web-fed press; third, and only since 1971, composition by computer and printing on a high-speed offset press.

The newspapers have won numerous awards for excellence and community service.  The Iowa Press Association named both Allender and Baldridge Master Editor-Publishers.  Baldridge is serving the Association as its president in 1978.

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