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Front Page » March 7, 2006 » Opinion » Following past publishers will be hard
Published 3,101 days ago

Following past publishers will be hard


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

It's been over a week ago that I was named publisher of this paper and the Emery County Progress by our parent company, Brehm Communications. That span of time has also given me time to reflect on what I have to live up to by assuming that position.

This newspaper, in one form or another, has been around since 1891. It began as the Eastern Utah Telegraph, and was founded by a lawyer named S.K. King, who had apparently moved here from the Dakotas.

It wasn't until 1895 that the paper took on a title that resembles the one we have today (Eastern Utah Advocate) which by then was being run by S.H. Brownlee and Dexter Smith.

Then came a series of changes and in 1898 brothers R.W. Crockett and J.A. Crockett took over the paper until about 1913.

During that same time other papers appeared in the area including the Castle Valley News and the Carbon County News. In 1912 the News and the Eastern Utah Advocate merged bringing forth a paper called The News- Advocate.

By this time R.W. Crockett had given up ownership of the paper, but he remained in town and found he didn't like the way the new paper was being run. Consequently, in 1915 he began a new paper called The Sun which he claimed was also a descendent of the Eastern Utah Advocate.

The years between that date and 1932 when the two papers merged were filled with rancor and bitterness between the two opposing papers owners. Charges of impropriety and poor journalism often showed up in both papers as they commented on their competition.

In 1930 R.W. Crockett died and his son, R.W. Crockett, Jr. took over The Sun. That same year The News-Advocate was sold in a sheriff's sale for non-payment of taxes, after a series of owners were not able to make it stay afloat.

In 1932 the two papers merged into the Sun Advocate under the direction and ownership of Joseph Asbury. In 1935 Val Cowles and Hal McKnight bought the paper and this began a line of ownership by the McKnight family up through the 1970's.

Then came Robert Finney who published the paper into the 1980's at which time the paper was purchased by the Ogden Standard Examiner. After that, through a series of transactions, the paper was sold to an investment group and then went into a receivership and was operated during that time by Jim McGinnis.

Then in 1996 the paper was purchased by Brehm Communications and has remained with them since that time.

There have been some great publishers who worked with this paper over the years. R.W. Crockett was one and is recognized by the state as one of the pioneers of publishing in Utah. Hal McKnight held onto the paper for a long time and did an outstanding job of running it during World War II up through the turbulent 1960's and beyond. Robert Finney took over and put the paper through a changing time for both the country the newspaper business. Kevin Ashby came to the paper in the early 1990's from a career of living the newspaper business his whole life. His father had once owned the Emery County Progress and Ashby had owed and run the Salina Sun for years when he came to Carbon County.

In 1991 Ashby left the paper to take a job with Pioneer Press in Idaho and Ken Larson came to the Sun Advocate from another Brehm operation in Arizona. He stayed until last April when he took a job in Palm Springs, Calif, to run a magazine and a weekly newspaper for Brehm.

The Sun Advocate has seen a lot of changes over the years, from the technology used to print it, to the way the paper is distributed. In the mid-1970's the paper went from a once a week publication to a twice a week paper. In the 1990's everyone moved from using typewriters to using computers.

The printing of the newspaper in Price was halted long ago (sometime in the early 1970's), but many people hang onto the notion that we still have a press in our building. For the last 10 years the paper has been printed in Richfield; we send the pages down electronically the night before publication comes out and then our driver goes to Sevier County, picks them up and they are brought to our distribution center at the Sun Advocate office.

However, what makes any paper special is the community it covers. While large papers in big metropolitan areas are struggling to stay in business, community papers that provide local news and events coverage are thriving in many places. While you can get you national news from many sources, including television and the internet, there is really only one source that carries the news of a small town meeting, a fund drive by a elementary school class and photos of local athletes doing their thing week after week.

For all of us at the Sun Advocate, this paper is a labor of love; for ourselves and for the community. The ink of the press gets in your blood once and you are hooked. You can never stay away from the journalism business for long.

I am a very lucky person to be working with the great staff we have assembled here and to be able to work with community members in this county. Judging by the fine job many past publishers have done here, I have a great deal to live up to.

And I will try my hardest to do so.


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March 7, 2006
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