Below is a letter that I sent recently to an editor at the Oklahoma Press Association. He is featuring Temple and our attempt to establish a newspaper. We hope his article will attract a new operator.
Read your critique in the February Publisher about teaching journalism. You hit the nail. Also I read that you will write about Temple next issue.
I was never a journalism student. My Temple school teachers would be surprised that I could later write my name.
Tenth grade, Mrs. Kennedy, made us diagram sentences day after day.
In San Antonio journalist Grace Vincent agreed to help me with writing for my master's degree. I dropped my draft on her desk and the next day she said, “Harold, what did you mean by this?” I told her what I meant. She said, “Why didn’t you write that?” She was too kind and smart to say, “Why did you write this stilted, cold, drawn out bullshit? " She stressed many of the writing terms you’ve mentioned: active verbs and short sentences.
Upon Army retirement I moved back to Temple, Oklahoma, to farm. About three years ago I was visiting with the Walters Herald editor. I said that I could write a column for the Herald from Temple. She said Okay. I did that for two years and received many thanks and compliments. Then the new editor sent me a letter saying my column no longer met the Herald’s needs. I had submitted a well-documented story about Temple police. I think she caught a lot of flak from her readers for terminating my column.
A few months later a prominent Temple citizen said to me, “Temple needs a newspaper.” He asked if I’d look into it. I did. We started from scratch. We incorporated, sold stock, bought equipment, hired an editor. We put out 36 weeklies and attracted 350 subscribers and 100 put outs. We never developed successful marketing of advertising. I still believe it is out there to be had. We were short of expertise.
Our last issue was No. 36, May 1st.
We had trimmed our cost of publishing down to $812 per eight page issue, including a $350/ week editor’s salary. Our equipment and office remain in place. The job is perfect for a mature couple who would like to be a part of a quaint country town with little traffic, a nice country school and good citizens. They would receive the following assets:
- Temple Tribune, Inc.
- Cost of Incorporating
- Computer with programs and printer
- 350 subscribers
- Periodical mailing rate
- Eager columnist
- A unique country town publication
They would need to make some monetary investment. Computer savvy and ability to market advertising are needed. Temple has very economical housing and a unique history.