Joplin’s earliest newspaper started one year before the city was designated.
Murphysburg boasted the first Joplin paper with the Mining News published by printer Peter Schnur, who had worked for the Carthage Banner. The first edition came out on March 7, 1872. It was a four-page, weekly publication that doubled to eight pages after its first month. Its office was located on Virginia Avenue between Second and Third streets.
Papers of the day often took partisan positions. The Mining News was a Republican paper. Livingston recounts Schnur made public schools, good government and calls for public improvements the topics of his editorials. His paper gained the good graces of Patrick Murphy, local mine operator and founder of Murphysburg, who donated a lot on the corner of Second and Joplin streets for an office for the paper. Three years later, the Mining News became a daily and changed its name to the Joplin Daily News. Subscription price was 15 cents per week or $2 a year.
Democrats were not left out. East Joplin had its own Daily Index, which began publication on Sept. 19, 1872. Livingston regarded it as “ably edited” and “a spicy sheet.” However, after a year of financial struggles, the paper ceased publication. The cause for Democrats was taken up by the Daily News after Schnur sold his interest in the paper in 1888. The Daily News continued publication until 1900, when it merged with the Joplin Herald to become the Joplin Daily News-Herald.
Alexander Washington “Kit” Carson, a former teacher and newspaperman, moved to Joplin in 1877. On March 7 of that year, he began publication of the Sunday Herald. It, too, took a Democratic editorial stance. Carson had a light editorial tone, and the paper prospered, becoming the Daily Herald in just eight months’ time.
While the Daily News and Daily Herald were Democratic papers, they didn’t enthusiastically support the Free Silver cause of William Jennings Bryan enough to suit three Joplin printers. On Aug. 9, 1896, Lumley C. McCarn, O.P. Meloy and Frank Tew established the Joplin Daily Globe to proclaim Bryan’s cause. Three years later, Gilbert Barbee, mine operator and Democratic Party boss, obtained controlling interest in the Globe, which he maintained until 1911.
Two rival papers
In 1900, the Daily News and Daily Herald merged, with Carson having left as editor. Renamed the Daily News-Herald, it changed to support Republican causes. The Globe and Daily News-Herald became partisan editorial rivals through the next two decades. As municipal government operated on a partisan basis, local elections became the battleground for editorials. The Union Depot and Broadway viaduct were just two of the issues on which the papers took opposing stances.
Barbee had a special dislike for A.H. Rogers, reflected in coverage of the Southwest Missouri Railroad’s accidents and fare increases. Rogers sponsored a rival paper, the Joplin American, in 1906. Its claim to fame is that it hired Thomas Hart Benton as a staff artist. It folded in a year and was moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas. Later, Rogers quietly bought out stockholders of the Globe until, in 1911, he was the majority stockholder. Walking into Barbee’s office, Rogers informed him of his ownership and accepted Barbee’s resignation. The paper slowly adopted a less partisan stance.
Barbee formed the Joplin Morning Tribune, which was staunchly Democratic and even more strident in opposing Rogers. The paper lasted for about 18 months.
Joplin supported the two rival papers until after World War I. The post-war depression of 1920-21, declining ore prices and a printers’ strike in 1922 overwhelmed the News-Herald. The Globe bought out its rival, changing the News-Herald into an afternoon daily published Monday through Saturday, while the Globe published Tuesday through Sunday. For the next five decades, the Globe and News-Herald covered news for Tri-State District readers.
Prior to Civil War
Prior to the Civil War, the first newspaper in Jasper County had been the Star of the West and Southwest News in Carthage.
Established in 1859, it supported secession and slave-holding. In the 1860 election, the paper endorsed every candidate except Abraham Lincoln. Its press was turned over to the Confederates after the Battle of Carthage and used to print materials for the Confederate army.
The first county paper to begin publication after the Civil War was the Carthage Banner in December 1866. Self-styled as a “true index and expounder of home events and happenings,” the Banner was an advocate for the Republican Party and for growth in Jasper County after the Civil War. It celebrated the “climate, water, soil (and) fruit” of the area, hoping to encourage population expansion.
The Banner also insisted that “Jasper County must have a railroad running through its county seat” and claimed that “now is the time to open schools” so that the Carthage youth would no longer be “permitted to run through the town, forming evil habits and learning lessons that will take years of penitence to unlearn,” according to Joel Livingston’s “History of Jasper County.” The Banner published until 1888 when it was sold.
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