Two newspapers duking it out in Liberal, Kansas

In an age when most newspapers are shuttering their windows and turning to a Web-only format, it’s refreshing to hear about a town where a new print paper has started up.

In Liberal, Kan., the former publisher, Earl Watts, of the town’s daily paper, the Southwest Times, has started a competing publication, reports Watts quit when the owners turned the daily paper into a thrice-weekly product. He and 15 staff members started The High Plains Daily Leader. Now, the first paper is suing them, yet the Daily Leader is holding strong.

“Competition is the American way, and even being in business for 121 years still does not entitle Plaintiff to have a monopoly over the newspaper trade in Liberal, Kansas,” the attorneys wrote.

The best part is since the competition started, the Southwest Times has actually been adding content to its papers. While others are cutting out the comics and lifestyle sections, the Southwest Times is adding them. 

Competition is not a bad thing, no matter what we think. In this case, it is actually providing the readers with better content. I hope the two papers can both survive. After all, it never hurts to have more than one reporter/editor/paper in a town.


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