Small-town newspapers face uncertain future with possible postal cutbacks

February 17, 2012|by Mike Landis, KY3 News |

WILLARD, Mo. - Since 1881 folks have depended on the Ash Grove Commonwealth to get the scoop on the goings-on of Greene County's northwestern corner.

“Our subscriptions have always stayed up- even when the economy went down,” explained publisher Laura Scott.

The weekly paper has been a constant pillar in a world of change.

“My folks took the Commonwealth when I was a little girl. I have never been without it,” said reader Anabelle Keith. 

The phrase 'news travels fast' could soon no longer apply to the Commonwealth and its sister publication- the Willard Cross Country Times. 

Scott explained that if the postal service closes Springfield's mail processing center, folks could see several days added to delivery times.  The USPS confirmed last year the facility could soon be consolidated with Kansas City as a cost-cutting move.

“It will take them three to four days to get their paper- which would make the news stale,” Scott said.  “It will be really hard on the newspaper business.”

If the postal cuts happen, it could be the final page for this newspapers long history.

“I don't want to be the one to shut down a 130-year old paper.   It has been around too long.”

One option is to stop the press, for good, and go completely online.  The problem is, explained Scott, “A lot of people in this area, a lot of our subscribers, don’t have computer or internet.“


“Well, I will be disappointed because I look forward to it. Every Thursday it is my Commonwealth day,” said Anabelle Keith.

Laura wonders if her answer could be pulled straight from 1881.

“I have even thought about getting on my horse and going through town and doing it the old fashioned way.”

The postal service has said it will wait until May to announce what facilities will be spared.

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