|The North Vernon
Plain Dealer and the North Vernon Sun have been chronicling Jennings
County news since 1862 and 1872, respectively. The Plain Dealer is
published on Thursdays and the Sun on Tuesdays. The two are Jennings
County's newspapers of record.
The two papers share
offices and staff at 528 East O&M Avenue in "Historic Uptown" North
Vernon. In 1954, the papers were purchased by Burlin and Viola King,
who moved here from Sutton, Nebraska. Mr. King himself came from a
newspaper heritage, with his father, H.C. King, operating papers around
the mid-and far-west. Burlin served as the publisher of the Plain
Dealer and Sun until his death in 1982; at that time, his wife, Viola,
became publisher. Upon her death in 1994, the couple's youngest
daughter, Barbara King, took over the responsibility and from 1992 to
1998 also served as editor. Although they are not involved in the
newspapers on a day-to-day basis, sisters and part-owners Madelon King
and Susan King remain dedicated to the tradition of community
In the county's early
days, there were several newspapers vying for residents' loyalty. The
Vernon Banner, which began publishing in 1859, has the distinction of
being the first newspaper in Jennings County. It moved to North Vernon
and became the Banner Plain Dealer in 1892 and eventually the North
Vernon Plain Dealer. It was at that time owned by Fred H. Nauer.
The Plain Dealer began
publication during the Civil War at 6 Madison Avenue, in downtown North
Vernon. The first publisher and editor was J.C. Cope, and a year's
subscription was $1.25.
By 1913, another merger
unfolded when The Republican consolidated with the Plain Dealer. Cal
Klingner took over as sole publisher soon after, from 1915 to 1953. His
sister-in-law, Mary Cassin served as editor; and Ernest Klingner, Cal's
brother, as printer. Another relative of a local newspaperman, Ralph
Norris, son of William Norris, worked for Klingner as his bookkeeper
and office manager. The elder Norris had served as publisher and editor
from 1879 to 1904.
The Sun, too, had
merged with at least one other newspaper, The Vernon Journal around
1903. It continued to operate independently until 1946 when it was
purchased by Cal Klingner. From then on, the Plain Dealer has shared
its staff and office with The Sun which, as early editions proclaimed,
"Shines for All."
The Sun was established
in 1872 by Jas. N. Marsh, and, like many rural papers of its era, had
numerous owners through the years. When it was eventually bought by
Klingner, the paper had a different publisher (Ralph Norris) and editor
Today, the two
newspapers continue to be locally owned and operated, a tradition that
is more and more unusual in the media world. With Barbara King at its
helm, the paper staff remains committed to its independence and
excellence. Bryce Mayer, son of longtime editor Dick Mayer, joined the
paper in April 1998 as editor; Lilian Carmer, who celebrated her
50-year anniversary with the Plain Dealer and Sun in April 2008, serves
as assistant editor; and Sharon Hamilton, sports and education editor,
oversees news in these two busy areas.
Now, the papers are
composed with computers and "on the desktop". It is a far, far
different world than that when the present owner(s) grew up and watched
their dad hand cast molten lead into type via the clanking Linotype
machine. No more hot lead needed, thank you very much!
There will undoubtedly
be even more technological changes as we advance through the 21st
century, but the principles evident in every issue of the newspapers
today will remain constant through the uncertain future. The papers
will continue to strive to be fair, inclusive, innovative and
inquisitive in regards to its coverage area of Jennings County.
We look forward to
serving our readers far into the twenty-first century.