I ran a post on The Amish Cook site today about the Amish settlement in Clark, Missouri.  In that post I linked to a story in the Columbia Missourian newspaper.  What makes that newspaper unusual?  Well, it is a student-run daily newspaper published by the University of Missouri. But it’s not just any student paper, it’s truly a full-service daily that serves not just the campus community but the whole surrounding area.  That means it butts heads against the main city paper the Daily Tribune which in effect  makes Columbia a two-newspaper town, a real rarity in today’s world.  When I began in the newspaper business back in 1991 the list of cities with two papers was dwindling even then, but many were still hanging on…some examples:

1)  Muncie, Indiana still had two dailies…The Muncie Star and The Muncie Evening Press.  By then the Evening Press was in its dying days and looked it, but it hung on until the mid-90s before finally folding.

2)  Cincinnati….In 1991 the Cincinnati Post was still a scrappy competitor to The Cincinnati Enquirer.  When The Post picked up The Amish Cook I was excited.  At the time you could buy The Post each day within a 50 mile radius of the city of Cincinnati, they were a worthy competitor of the Enquirer.  But gradually the Post began withering away and by the time it ceased publication in 2007 it had become a sad shadow of its former self.

And there were still plenty of other cities back in 1991 that had two papers: Tulsa, Tuscon, Indianapolis, Norfolk. El Paso, and Pittsburgh to name just a few.  But as the internet began its ascension, the fragile few began to fold.

Today, besides Columbia I can name only a few places that still have two daily newspapers.  Obviously the big cities like New York, Chicago, and Boston hang on with two or more, but so do some other more unlikely places:  Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I’m not sure how a city smaller than Dayton, Ohio still hangs on with two, but the Journal Gazette and News-Sentinel do battle daily (they are able to because of what is called a Joint Operating Agreement,but that’s a whole different post).  York, Pennsylvania still hangs on with two dailies.   Probably the most bizarre case of a two-newspaper town remaining that I can find: Crawfordsville, Indiana. With a population barely registering 15,000…two daily papers still publish. Wow!

Did your hometown have two daily newspapers? Or does it still?  Does the demise of the newspaper in general make you upset or are there enough other news sources out there that it really doesn’t matter?

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