by Mary K. King
In the newspaper industry, we have a saying when we finish up a paper and send it off to the printer each week: we put the paper to bed. This week, as we send our final product off to the presses, we will put the Advocate to bed for the last time.
For nearly 68 years, the Advocate has served as a staple in the Grandview and South Kansas City communities. James Turnbaugh began a record of history all those years ago; a legacy that has continued on well past his time with us, and, we hope, for a long time to come. To the Turnbaugh family, the Wood family, and all of those who came before us, we are grateful to have had the opportunity to continue the story.
But, as stories go, they must all eventually come to an end. Unfortunately, this is the end of the Advocate’s story. This is the age of the internet, and of “fake news” and online advertising. While we feel that we offered a product which served the best interests of our readers, the community no longer supported us in a way that made this business remain successful.
Add COVID-19 into the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster, as far as small businesses go. People are no longer stopping in to place an ad in the classifieds. New subscribers have been few and far between. Homes associations, which used to be this publication’s bread and butter, have steadily declined in memberships or have folded altogether. Companies large and small are spending their advertising dollars online instead of locally.
While we feel as though we are letting the community we serve down, it simply comes down to dollars and cents. They just aren’t adding up any longer. Over the last several years, we have invested our time, money, and heart into this business, yet the so-called writing has been on the wall the whole time. While we feel as thought the work itself will never be finished, our time here is done.
It has been a privilege to carry on the story, and the tradition, of the Advocate. During our time here, we have continued to earn accolades and awards from the Missouri Press Association for our coverage of local government, and for stories on education, religion, business, history, and community. The most memorable stories to us, though, are those about our friends we have met along the way. We have learned that everyone we have come across has a story to tell and having the opportunity to tell those stories has been the most rewarding part of it all.
Thank you for sharing your stories with us. Thank you for your support, whether it was for decades or for just a short while. We are grateful to have been a small part in the legacy that this publication has surely earned. Wishing each of our faithful readers a happy and prosperous 2021 as we lay the Jackson County Advocate to rest. Goodnight.