For the month of August, members of the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce and the city of Neosho on Tuesday recognized the Neosho Daily News as the employer of the month.
The paper began publication in January 1905, and has been serving the Neosho area for 109 years.
On Dec. 31, 1952, new owner and publisher Howard Bush renamed the Neosho Daily Democrat the Neosho Daily News. Bush felt the word “Democrat” presented a biased image to the paper’s readers, and wanted the paper to reflect the views of all of the people in the community.
The newspaper was located at the corner of Wood and Hickory streets, but soon outgrew the small building. Bush purchased a building at 1006 W. Harmony that had been used as a chicken hatchery. He had it remodeled to suit the needs of the newspaper, and the Daily began operating here in 1958.
Bush died in 1969. His widow, Ruth, became chairman of the board of directors and his son-in-law, Kenneth, became the publisher.
Kenneth and his wife, Anne, gradually bought out the other owners of the newspaper and became the sole owners in 1983. They worked together at the newspaper with Ken as publisher and Anne as editor, the position she held until her retirement in 1991.
In July 1987, the Copes sold the Daily to American Publishing Co. Kenneth remained as publisher until he took a position with the new owners. Then the Copes’ son, Randy, became publisher, a position he held until November 1995 and returned to several years later.
In the early 2000s, Cope moved into a management position with the paper’s then-owner, Liberty Group Publishing, with Rick Rogers being named publisher. Rogers filled that role until 2011, when he moved to another newspaper management firm Cope had founded. Oklahoma-native Steve Boggs was named publisher, a position he held until 2013.
The Daily News currently has 21 employees, covers stories in Newton and McDonald counties, and has a printing press that prints around 30 jobs, including the Daily News, Carthage Press, Big Nickel, and other products. The Daily News is printed every day except for Mondays and Saturdays.
Many people have had long careers at the Daily. Names like Bill Ball, Mary Alice Campbell, Harlan Stark, Jim Burrows, Dean Keeling, and Lois Bush are familiar to many Neoshoans to this day. Others with a long history at the paper include Kay and Russell Hively, Judy Green, Bill Lyttle, Todd G. Higdon and editor John Ford.
A newspaper has always had an impact on the community in which it is published. The readers come to depend on the paper to keep them abreast of local news and events. And so it has been with the Neosho Daily News for 109 years now — and counting.