[An earlier version of this piece was posted in 2016. Points continue.}
The Kokomo Dispatch masthead existed on a print newspaper for decades. It began as a local newspaper in Kokomo, Indiana, as an enterprise and was lastly owned by the Poynter family who went on to bigger things with the St. Petersburg Times in Florida.
The Dispatch was purchased by my great grandfather, John Arthur Kautz from the Poynter family. The Dispatch name was carried as a sub-head in the Kokomo Tribune until the late 1960s when the name was dropped.
The Tribune sold in 1981 to the Thomson Newspaper group. At that point the Tribune had close to two dozen family owners, all descendants of J.A. Kautz. The family was in the situation where the death of one of the older partners would trigger a forced sale just to pay estate tax. The decision was made to sell. The market for newspapers was excellent at the time, but the sale to Thomson was not good for the paper nor for the community. The focus went from serving the community to maximizing profit. Unfortunately, this was the story for hundreds of family owned newspapers across the country.
I want to carry on the Kokomo Dispatch name which was not included as a part of the sale to Thomson. I feel it is part of my history and duty. I think the Poynters would be pleased as would J.A. Kautz since the Tribune name was passed on to others.
It is interesting to me to realize how deeply newspapers and journalism are rooted in me. Some of my earliest memories are of times going to the newspaper offices with my father. I was around newsrooms, composing rooms, and the press more times than I can imagine. I can still smell the ink and paper and still hear the rumbling of the press as it printed the thousands of copies of the paper to be delivered to doorsteps. I remember.
After the sale of the Tribune, I changed course. For years I was involved with science and the academic community. I loved that, too. I was able to make a significant contribution in evolutionary biology. I went off, too, later in other directions that hit dead ends. However, I did teach at and was the Vice Chancellor of External Relations at Indiana University Kokomo for a time. For the past 20 years, professionally I have been a certified real estate appraiser in Indiana. This has had its rewards in that I have become very familiar with about all communities in North Central Indiana and have met hundreds of very interesting and good people. My vision as a result has widened.
For years, the voices rooted within me from my decades with the Kokomo Tribune were muted. They have come alive. We are in precarious times for our country. Everyone who can should speak out. I intend to do just that.