Monitor-Herald, RIP

The Monitor-Herald is dead.

The Monitor-Herald, which began publication in Calhoun City in 1899, published its final edition the last day of 2009. Reflecting the people and history of the times, the newspaper’s 110-year life had been eventful, significant and worth celebrating.

Journal Inc., which owns the Monitor-Herald, explored selling the newspaper or donating it during the past six months, but ultimately decided to cease publication. “Calhoun County is best served by one good newspaper, and The Calhoun County Journal is positioned to continue to serve as the weekly newspaper of record for the entire county,” said Journal Chairman Billy Crews. …

The Monitor-Herald was acquired by Journal Inc. in 2005, and while circulation has grown by 42% to 811, it remained the smallest revenue and circulation newspaper in the Journal’s group of local newspapers.

Twelve years ago, The Monitor-Herald was owned by Boone Newspapers, Inc., and was operated as part of a group with The Times-Post in Houston, Miss. For a period of about four months, I was managing editor of The Times-Post, and, during that time, helped hire a good friend of mine from college to serve as managing editor of The Monitor-Herald. While I was never officially associated with the paper, I helped redesign The Monitor-Herald, assissted with putting it out more than once, and spent a fair bit of time in its office during those months.

I have, of course, been following the troubles the industry has been facing in recent years, but with this news, it becomes a little more personal. This is the first time that a newspaper I’ve had a hand in has folded.

While I agree with Crews that The Calhoun County Journal will do a good job covering the county, the Journal is based in Bruce, while The Monitor-Herald was based in Calhoun City, and it won’t be quite the same for people in the southern end of the county.

It’s a sad day for community journalism.

3 Responses

  1. Same thing happened in Monroe County with the Amory Advertiser and the Aberdeen Examiner. Both are now gone, “replaced” by the Monroe Journal. Since I worked for the Amory paper and the Tupelo Journal, it hit me pretty hard.

    The Journal used to be a wonderful organization, dedicated to community improvement and progressive thinking. It was just about the time that I left that the bean-counters took over. In honesty, I think I knew the end of that kind of newspapering was near the first time I had to call our new business school-trained semi-tech guy at home and tell him we weren’t getting the wire feed.

    He said he’d look at it in the morning.

    Ponder that for a moment.

    The Journal is a daily newspaper. It was about 8ish, 9ish at night when I called him. I was the managing editor. He refused to come in without authorization from somewhere “higher” on the chain of command. I lost my temper for one of the few times on the job and explained a few realities to the man. He came in. We got the wire up. Within a year I was gone.

    He’s now the second in command, I believe. So there you go. Read and understand.

  2. Judy pretty much hit it right on the head, especially about the “business school-trained semi-tech guy.” The company has gone from caring about the communities it serves and the people it employs to just another money hungry entity no better than Boone.

    I bet the McLeans are spinning in their graves.

  3. Eh, they rubbed me the wrong way when they changed the name of The Times-Post. A newspaper’s name has heritage in the community; abandoning that in favor of branding was a very telling move in my opinion.

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