It is most unusual to hear of newspapers starting up these days. Most reports on print media concern closings and mergers.
Hickman County, Kentucky with a population of fewer than 5000 souls became one of the few areas in America to buck the trend. The county now can boast not one local paper, but two.
The Hickman County Times published its first print edition on December 14th. The paper has been publishing online as risnerweb.com, by local resident Brian Risner. The paper went from virtual to physical when Gazette Editor Gaye Bencini left her post as editor to become editor in chief of the Times at the end of November.
The Times will be published weekly for 75 cents an issue. Additionally, the Times website offers video of local events. The most recent include the Christmas Parade of Lights and an interview with incoming Clinton mayor Tommy Kimbro.
The Hickman County Gazette which is published by Magic Valley Publishing of Camden Tennessee. Magic Valley has papers in Camden, Carroll County TN, Fulton, Hickman and Clinton. The Gazette began publishing back in 1843 and is the paper of record for the county.
Charlotte Smith, who currently edits the Hickman Courier (note to those from upstate: Hickman is the county seat of Fulton County) began editing the Clinton based Hickman County Gazette December 1st.
The rivalry between the two publications has already started. The Gazette boasts that it has strength in numbers and warns visitors to its website to beware of imitations. The Times reminds readers that it is the only locally owned newspaper in Hickman County.
Whether there is room in a small farming county for two newspapers remains to be seen. The competition between the two papers has residents buzzing. The big question is whether there will be enough advertising revenue to sustain both.
Whatever the outcome, Hickman County will benefit from having two competent competitive women managing their albeit tiny newsroom.
News gathering in far western Kentucky just became news.