The Akron News-Reporter is a weekly newspaper published in Akron, Colorado by Prairie Mountain Publishing (Boulder, Colo.), a subsidiary of MediaNews Group (Denver, Colo.) itself a subsidiary of Digital First Media (New York City). It primarily serves the Town of Akron, the Town of Otis, and Washington County, in the State of Colorado, United States of America. The newspaper is published every Wednesday with a current circulation of about 2000.[17]

History

Early Akron Newspapers

About two years before the Town of Akron was incorporated as a statutory town (September 22, 1887), its first newspaper,[19] the Akron Pioneer Press, began publication on November 1, 1885, and was published continuously for 38 years. It is partially digitized (earliest, Dec. 7, 1888) and is available for viewing online at the Colorado Historical Newspapers Collection.[20]

The following table summarizes the early newspapers of Akron.

Start DateEnd DateName of NewspaperYears in Operation
11/1/188511/9/1923Akron Pioneer Press38.0
18861887Colorado Beetle1
18861889Akron Herald3
18861892Akron Star6
18881889Akron Tribune1
18881889Washington County Democrat1
18931896Washington County Republican4
18931895Akron Advance2
9/30/18975/24/1912Washington County Leader14.6
10/13/19102/28/1929Akron News18.4
7/1/19162/28/1929Akron Reporter12.7
3/7/1929PresentAkron News-Reporter80

Progenitors of The Akron News-Reporter

Akron News/Semi-Weekly News Ownership

The original newspaper began publication on October 13, 1910, as the Akron News. The News went through several changes of ownership through February 1929 as summarized in the table below.

OwnerEditor(s)Beginning Date
F.C. Pinch, founderF.C. Pinch10/13/1910
F.W. McIntyreF.W. McIntyre8/14/1911
Isaac PeltonI. Pelton, F.T. Hawks, T.A. ErbMay 1912
Isaac PeltonD.C. ThomasDec 1916
Isaac PeltonD.C. Thomas, John S. EvansDec 1917
Isaac PeltonJohn S. EvansNov 1918
Charles M CockrumC.M. Cockrum, Worth MillerApr 1923
Worth MillerWorth Miller1928
R.B. CooleyR.B. Cooley & C.L. Miller-Cooley2/28/1929
  1. When Worth Miller bought the News from Cockrum he began publishing it on a semi-weekly basis so renamed the newspaper the Akron Semi-Weekly News

Akron Reporter Ownership

Another, rival newspaper, The Akron Reporter, began publication on July 1, 1916. It, too, went through several changes in ownership until February, 1929, though fewer than the News. The changes are summarized in the following table.

Owner(s)Editor(s)Beginning Date
F.C. and R.M. Wester, foundersF.C. and R.M. Wester7/1/1916
Robert A. ShookPresley PoolJan 1922
Presley PoolPresley Pool
Steen M. JohnsonS.M. JohnsonSummer 1927
R.B. CooleyR.B. Cooley & C.L. Miller-Cooley2/28/1929
  1. It is unclear when Pool purchased the Reporter from Shook

The Akron News-Reporter

On February 28, 1929, Robert B. Cooley merged the Akron Semi-Weekly News and the Akron Reporter. The first issue of the combined papers, the Akron News-Reporter, was published on March 7, 1929. On the front page was news of Herbert Hoover's inauguration and a four-column photo of the new President and Vice President Charles Curtis.

There was a small notice in the lower right corner:

'On the Passing Of The Reporter'

After almost twenty months of ownership of the Akron Reporter the undersigned is transferring the title and ownership of its physical equipment to Mr. R.B. Cooley, formerly of the Otis Independent. Mr. Cooley, having purchased the Akron News, is merging the two newspapers into a single entity under one name. This is a commendable move and should have the whole-hearted support of all the citizens of the community, advertisers and subscribers. - S.M. Johnson

And in the lower left corner the News-Reporter was introduced:

This issue marks a consolidation of two Akron newspapers, the Akron Semi-Weekly News and the Akron Reporter. The new publication has been christened the Akron News-Reporter, a name that carries the thought of the two former publications, which was the primary idea in its choice. The Akron News-Reporter will be a weekly, as it is the general opinion of the businessmen of the town that a twice-weekly is not to their best interest and that a weekly publication will be much more satisfactory to all concerned. The subscription lists will be combined, those having paid-up subscriptions to both papers will receive the benefit by having their credit applied on the revised list. Those whose time has [not] expired on one paper or the other will be credited with the unexpired time, and those who were receiving but one will now receive the consolidated paper, so there will be no grounds for complaint of any subscriber to either paper. It is our intention to give the people of Akron and community the very best weekly newspaper that we are capable of producing and the very best newspaper that the town and community can afford. Your interests are our interests and with that idea in mind we will endeavor to publish a real newspaper. You be the judge.

The News-Reporter introduction was not signed.

Cooley Sons Carry On

The News-Reporter was owned and published by R.B. Cooley and his wife C.L. Miller-Cooley until 1955 when they relinquished control to their son C. Coyne Cooley and nephew Merton Beth Cooley, both of whom had been active in its operation since its inception. They operated the newspaper under an oral partnership until they reduced it to a written partnership on September 20, 1977, dba The Akron News-Reporter.

Equipment through the 50s and 60s

The News-Reporter had the following newspaper and job printing equipment through the two decades of the 1950s and 1960s.

Type Casting
Newspaper Printing Press
  • Miehle hand-fed flatbed cylinder press[4]
  • Newspaper folding machine[5]
Letterpresses

The Akron News-Reporter supplemented its newspaper business with job printing[6] (letterheads, envelopes, bills, posters, announcements, and other miscellaneous small-piece printing work).

The End of an Era

Coyne and Beth had operated the News-Reporter for 24 years when on July 2, 1979 they sold the newspaper to Danny L. Reneau and C. Bryce Wilkins dba Akron Publishing Co., thus ending the 67-year Cooley Newspaper Dynasty in Eastern Colorado.

Transfers of Ownership after the Cooley Era

Reneau and Wilkins sold the News-Reporter in May 1989 to American Publishing Company,[10] a subsidiary of Hollinger Corporation of Toronto, Ontario. In 1990, Karen Ashley was named editor, Bonnie Miller, general manager, and Anita Kraich, ad director.

Seven years later on April 4, 1996 the News-Reporter and other weekly newspapers of American Publishing were sold to MediaNews Group. Editor Karen Ashley wrote

It's a part of the human condition that we resist change. We become comfortable with the established routine, the familiar rut. Now, however, we at the Akron News-Reporter are announcing a new change in ownership....We received official notification [our newspaper] and other Colorado newspapers owned by American Publishing have been sold to NewsMedia (sic) of Denver...

MediaNews, in turn, formed a subsidiary, the Eastern Colorado Publishing Co, comprising the Akron News-Reporter and several other Eastern Colorado newspapers. According to SEC filings in 2002[21][22] the subsidiary comprised the following newspapers:

NewspaperColo. Location
Fort Morgan TimesFort Morgan
Journal-AdvocateSterling
Lamar Daily NewsLamar
Akron News ReporterAkron
Brush News-TribuneBrush
Julesburg AdvocateJulesburg
Burlington RecordBurlington
Estes Park Trail GazetteEstes Park

On February 2, 2006 the E. W. Scripps Company and MediaNews Group Inc. formed a partnership to operate both companies’ newspapers throughout the USA. The newspapers of MediaNews' Eastern Colorado Publishing Co. were merged with those operated by Scripps in eastern Colorado, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Colorado Daily, and the Broomfield Enterprise, to form a new subsidiary, the Prairie Mountain Publishing Company with headquarters in Boulder, Colorado.[23] Scripps left the partnership in 2009.

The Cooley Newspaper Family

Twin Brothers Become Newspapermen

Robert Berton Cooley (Bert) and his twin brother Herbert Merton (Mert) were born in McGregor, Iowa, October 15, 1875. About the turn of the 20th century the brothers moved to Nebraska. Bert was married to Carrie Louella Miller (Lou) in 1902 in Plainview, Nebr. This union produced three sons, Orville Dale, Clifford Coyne, and Robert Miller. Mert was married to Elizabeth Holliday and this union produced two sons, Ronald Delos and Merton Beth.

Herbert Merton Cooley was the first to get into the newspaper business, founding the Crofton (Nebraska) Journal prior to 1909.

Bert and Lou taught school in Plainview, Nebraska, until 1910 when they migrated westward to prove up on a homestead[11] northwest of Flagler, Colorado. About two years later on January 12, 1912 Bert founded the Otis Independent[12] at Otis, Colorado.

In a tragic automobile accident in 1914, Mert was drowned in the Missouri River after a car in which he was a passenger drove off a pontoon bridge near Yankton, South Dakota. Bert gave up the Otis Independent and moved the family back to Crofton to assume control of his brother's newspaper and the parenting of his two sons, Ronald and Beth. But in 1916, because of a worsening allergy condition, Bert sold the Journal and returned to Colorado to resume operation of the Otis Independent, this time with two more "sons" in tow.

Bert continued to operate the Independent until the fall of 1928 when, in a trade, he swapped the Otis Independent for ownership in the Monte Vista Tribune, Monte Vista, Colorado, now the Monte Vista Journal.[13] Within a few months, Bert disposed of the Tribune, went to Akron, Colo., where he bought the Akron Semi-Weekly News and the Akron Reporter combining the two papers on February 28, 1929 into the Akron News-Reporter.

A Cooley Newspaper Dynasty Forms

For twenty five years beginning in 1912 the sons had worked off and on at their father's newspaper, each deciding to become a newspaperman at one time or another.

Dale started helping as a printer's devil when he was just a youngster, and continued to work with his dad through high school and college, where he earned a degree in journalism at the University of Denver. Although he had initially wanted to become a newspaperman, he, instead, took a teaching job at Otis High School[15] and remained there until 1936 when he returned to Akron to work at the Akron News-Reporter.

Ronald, in his early years, helped his father, Mert, twin brother of Bert, at the Crofton Journal. When Mert met his untimely death, Ronald continued to help his uncle Bert when he came to Crofton to run his brother's newspaper. The family moved back to Colorado in 1916 where Ronald joined Dale and his father at the Otis Independent. He went on to receive a degree in journalism at the University of Colorado, afterwards returning to Otis to work at the Independent and, later, in Akron at the News-Reporter.

Beth, born in Crofton about two years after Ronald, also grew-up in the newspaper business and was helping his dad when he was only four years old folding newspapers. When Mert was killed, Beth continued to help at the Crofton Journal when his uncle Bert assumed the reins. Beth worked with his uncle continuously from Crofton in 1914 to Otis to Akron until Bert retired in 1956.

Coyne was literally born into the newspaper business in a small living space above the Otis Independent print shop. From Visions, Cooleys, and Graves:

Starting his newspaper career by sweeping out the Independent office while he was in grade school, Coyne moved up to printer's devil when he was in seventh grade [about 1919], and to learning the operation of "the great old machine, the Linotype", when he was a high school freshman [about 1920]. By the time he graduated high school [sic] he could do everything necessary to produce a weekly newspaper: Write the stories, set the type, sell the ads, make up the page forms and put them on the press, run the press and kill out after the last run." His greatest thrill was the day his father let him start covering high school sports. He decided, without question, to be a newspaperman.

Coyne received a degree in journalism from the University of Colorado in 1936 and within two weeks he was back at it at the News-Reporter.

All in all, Coyne was the editor of the News-Reporter for 41 years (1936 to 1977).

Robert Cooley (Bob), the youngest of the three sons of R.B., helped in his father's newspaper during his younger years in Akron. He attended the University of Colorado where he graduated in 1937 with a degree in Journalism. After World War II he went into the newspaper business outside of Colorado (Mountain Home, Idaho). In a few years, because of ill health, he sold the newspaper and moved to the drier climate of Arizona where he taught journalism in Arizona State University. Later, after a brief stint at Reedley College in California, he went to Flagstaff, Arizona, where he accepted the position of Chairman of the Journalism Department and Director of Public Information at Northern Arizona University. He held this position at NAU until his retirement in 1977.

Newspapers Spawned

In 1937, with five sons working at the same small newspaper in Akron, R.B. Cooley decided to make some adjustments. The two older sons, Dale and Ronald, were sent to Limon, Colorado to publish the Eastern Colorado Leader which R.B. had just acquired. It was later combined with the Genoa Sentinel, Genoa, Colorado, to form the Limon Leader which they published until their retirement on June 1, 1972.

The youngest son, Robert M. Cooley who had married an Idaho girl, Eleanor Newcomb, moved to her home state where he became editor and later owner of the Mountain Home News, Mountain Home, Idaho. Because of a worsening health condition he sold the newspaper 12 years later and moved to Arizona.

Coyne and Beth remained at the News-Reporter eventually gaining full control of the newspaper in 1956. They continued its operation until 1977 when they sold it to the American Publishing.

The Cooley newspaper dynasty in Colorado was broken after 67 years with all but one of the third-generation Cooleys taking up non-newspaper occupations. The exception is James R. Cooley, son of Ronald D. Cooley, who, along with his wife, Maria H., currently publishes the Oxford Standard,[16] Oxford, Nebraska