Waurika News Journal to pick up where News-Democrat left off

Published: Feb. 10, 2015 at 10:41 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2015 at 4:18 PM CST
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WAURIKA, Okla._Less than a week after publishers pulled the plug on the 113-year-old Waurika News-Democrat, one resident has taken the reigns and created a brand new paper.

The Waurika community was stunned last week when one of its biggest mainstays closed its doors for good. The Waurika News-Democrat may be a thing of the past, but thanks to a few residents, Jefferson County journalism will be making a return.

Curtis Plant has spent his life in Waurika and as a former editor of the nearby Ryan Leader, saying goodbye to the News-Democrat was hard.

"We just didn't want to lose the newspaper, and the only way we could preserve that was by starting our own," said Plant.

Plant went into action, talking to folks in town and getting the support from the community he needed to launch the Waurika News Journal, a fine-tuned publication that he hopes will pick up where history left off.

"That's what the people here want to see. They enjoy seeing their grandkids and kids on the front page and local sporting events, and they don't care so much about the big stories, but they care about the local stories," said Plant.

The News Journal's predecessor closed up shop after publishers cited "difficult economic conditions" as the reason for closing. It's something Plant is hoping to avoid by staying small and keeping it in the family.

"I'll be the editor, my daughter will be the office manager [and] my dad will be in charge of circulation. So, we're going to keep it pretty small, but we're hoping that it'll grow," explained Plant.

It's the community that drives this new business, and with support pouring in on Facebook, Plant plans on utilizing video and other media online in the future. But he says first and foremost, he'll continue to stick with what works for Waurika.

"People here still like to hold the paper in their hands. And they clip the pictures out for scrapbooks and it's a tradition here. The people here are great and they have a right to have their history recorded. We all have a sense of community and we just want to preserve that," said Plant.

Plant says the Waurika News Journal's first weekly edition will hit newsstands on Thursday, February 19.