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The Jasper News
The Jasper News was issued on Thursdays between 1898 and 1924 in Jasper, Missouri. Starting out as a four-page paper, the Jasper News declared its politics to be best described by the phrase “The greatest good to the greatest number.” The paper covered developments in southern Missouri, including news from rural towns such as Lebanon, Sheridan, Blue, and Bethel.
On September 13, 1906, the editorship of the News passed from Lynn Monroe to Joe C. Combs. The paper continued to focus on news involving local markets and agriculture and gave detailed accounts of births, marriages, deaths, and travel. On March 7, 1907, Roland B. Griffith assumed editorship. The News’ content remained much the same under his lead. In the inaugural issue, Griffith declared, “We shall continue the policy of the former publishers of the News and not dabble in politics.” Arthur F. Drake took over on August 10, 1911, and wrote, “We have our political preferences, and they happen to be Republican, but the primary and essential object of this paper is to print the local and community news and to that end we will bend our energies regardless of politics.”
In fact, the Jasper News remained largely neutral in politics, occasionally endorsing candidates for office but without consistent allegiance to a particular party. In 1904, under Lynn Monroe, the paper had endorsed Republican Theodore Roosevelt for president, but had also supported Joseph Folk, a Democrat, for Missouri governor. In local policies, Monroe stated, “The Jasper News has supported every progressive measure which has been brought before the people of Jasper since its advent on the field and could not consistently be opposed to the most important of all the public measures – the bettering of our school facilities” (May 5, 1904).
Under Drake’s leadership, the Jasper News expanded to 12 pages per issue, but its focus on local news and agricultural concerns remained unchanged. The Jasper News ceased publication in 1924.
Provided by: State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO