Iowa Country Roads: Iowa is a state of newspapers

By Arvid Huisman


In early 1953, my family moved from the farm into the town of Ellsworth. Before moving to a house in a residential neighborhood, we lived for several months in a downtown apartment above what was then the U.S. Post Office.


For a five-year-old farm boy, life in downtown Ellsworth was exciting. My playmates included the son of the owners of the drugstore, the son of an employee of “the produce” and the daughter of the publishers of the local weekly newspaper.


Each week I could stare through the large plate glass window of the newspaper office and watch the press print the latest edition. I was fascinated.


One press day, the publishers’ five-year-old brown-eyed daughter, Marla, invited me to come inside the office and watch the press up close. Newspapers, presses and brown-eyed girls have intrigued me ever since.


As soon as I learned to read, I became an avid reader of the Ellsworth News, the newspaper I had watched being printed. These days, I read two daily newspapers and two weeklies, plus multiple newspaper websites.


Understandably, I spent more than 40 years of my career in the industry — writing stories, shooting photographs, selling advertisements and managing newspapers. And that doesn’t include my earlier jobs of delivering newspapers.


Iowa is a newspaper state. People who keep track of such things claim that Iowa has more newspapers per capita than any of the other 49 states. Nearly 300 general circulation newspapers publish weekly or more frequently in the Hawkeye State.


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