The newspaper in Waynesville, Missouri, recently shut down. A local businessman announces plans to start a newspaper in its place. The readers in Waynesville and the surrounding region are celebrating, right?
The businessman is Louie Keen, owner of the Uranus Missouri, complex along Route 66 in nearby St. Robert, Missouri, and he plans to call the newspaper The Uranus Examiner.
Natalie Sanders, former managing editor of the now-defunct Waynesville Daily Guide, announced it during a local chamber of commerce luncheon.
According to KY3 in Springfield, Missouri:
She left the now-defunct paper in June, and had teamed up with the tourist attraction, Uranus, to start what she calls a “fun” paper for marketing the businesses and attractions at the tourist town.
They’ll still be doing that, but they’ll also be doing a regular newspaper for local news, legal notices, and other things you’d find in a normal local newspaper.
“It’s a weekly. It’ll come out, we’re thinking Thursdays, although the production schedule isn’t set yet because we just decided this and we’re still working out the kinks,” Sanders said.
After Sanders’ announcement Wednesday afternoon, Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman stood up and asked for the microphone.
“No. I’m sorry. But, the innuendo of that title puts my city up for public ridicule, and I will not be a part of it,” Hardman said.
Hardman said she supports Sanders, who is one of her former students, and respects her work as a journalist. But, but refuses to put any of the legal notices the city of Waynesville is required to publish in The Uranus Examiner.
Right now, the city will have to publish them in the Dixon Pilot or the Laclede Record.
Darrell Todd Maurina, owner of the online Pulaski County Daily News, also panned the name. “That name does not indicate a serious newspaper,” he told the station.
Regardless, Sanders said the newspaper will begin publishing in October. It will be a free publication, and about 15,000 copies will be delivered to mailboxes on its first print run.
Here’s the video from the station. Kudos to the reporter for not giggling during the segment:
Keen, who acknowledged in an interview last year he has the mentality of a smart-aleck eighth-grader, has opened an outdoors outfitters store, a shooting and archery range, a food-truck park, a tattoo parlor, an escape room, a bar-and-grill operation, an ax-throwing venue and the now-infamous Uranus Fudge Factory. Planned are a microbrewery and a wedding chapel.
Keen, whose antics are a throwback to goofy and gimmicky roadside attractions trying to draw tourists, has been so successful with his venues, he closed his most disreputable operation — a burlesque saloon — about a year ago.
One of Keen’s biggest long-term problem with the newspaper is whether its name will prove problematic trying to draw good talent to work there. Then again, the history of newspapers remains replete with scoundrels or mavericks who shook up the industry. Who’s to say The Uranus Examiner won’t do the same thing?
(Image of Uranus, Missouri, by J. Stephen Conn via Flickr)