With the world wide web at our fingertips, these days its hard for small town newspapers to have enough subscribers to keep the presses hot. In fact, 2016 alone saw a 10% decrease in newspaper circulation around the nation. In order to keep up with the demand for the digital that has been increasing over the last decade, many newspapers have chosen to give online media a go. Thankfully, many small town Oklahoma newspapers have kept their journalists paid and community informed by opting to create websites.
Granted, some are better than others. And by that I mean some have actually been updated since George W. Bush was president. But all of them are hidden gems of Oklahoma’s media circuit that don’t always get credit when it is due. So here are the 5 best small town Oklahoma newspaper websites!
1. The Pauls Valley Daily Democrat
Yes, the picture says Enid News, but don’t let that fool you. The Pauls Valley Daily Democrat site is known for its combination of local news, national headlines, and apparently using material from other news sites. But the best thing about the Daily Democrat is the Enid News & Eagle opinion columnist Dave Ruthenberg. Though I think his writing is supposed to be a persuasive piece, his stuff reads more like a Donald Trump-inspired fan-fiction. But I think Dave’s promotional picture says all you need to know about his work. I mean, what kind of opinion do you expect to get from something named, “The Deep End.” It looks like someone bought a copy of a dusty porn VHS from a Waco truck stop and photoshopped Dave’s head over Bambi Woods.
2. The Davis News
The Davis News website, home of your hometown paper since 1894, provides readers with helpful classifieds, a dead link to local movie showings, and, as seen above, 9 different fonts on the first page of the E-newspaper alone. That’s the most diversity I’ve ever seen in a small town newspaper! But what really makes The Davis News a hidden gem is their Local Events coverage. When you click the Local Events link it takes you to a blank screen, reminding readers that nothing ever happens in Davis, America.
3. The Elk City Daily News
Of course I had to shout out my old stomping grounds. The Elk City Daily News boasts being “Elk City’s most read newspaper.” This is due to its combination of community coverage, affordability, and the fact that it is Elk City’s only newspaper. The website is also a great spot to brush up on your history, being that headlines on the website haven’t been updated since 2013 and many of the advertised businesses have long since closed.
4. The Herald Democrat
Beaver’s own Herald Democrat’s website is known for monthly news articles, a collection of local recipes, and a logo that looks like it was designed in Microsoft paint. But the best part about the Herald Democrat is its willingness to print the voices of the people in the weekly Letters to the Editor. But it is mainly the voice of Pastor Jim Reeves that gives the newspaper its flair. Whether it is rebuking food stamps and immigration or throwing around racial slurs, Pastor Jim is dedicated to giving a voice to the average conservative Oklahoma Christian. Like The Oklahoman doesn’t do that anyway.
5. The Poteau Daily News
It may look like lazily I put 3 pictures together with one of those free photo editing apps millennials use to take nudes, but that’s really the home page for our next newspaper. The Poteau Daily News’ website provides readers with an eclectic collection of poker run announcements, funeral home advertisements, and thought-provoking opinion polls. The most recent poll asked readers of the Poteau Daily about their thoughts on marijuana legalization and revealed that 75% of Poteauns (Poteau-ites? Poteau-dwellers?) were in favor of legalizing the devil’s lettuce. As an 11-month veteran of reporting for an obscure local social blog, I have a bit of advice for the editorial team at the Poteau Daily News: write for your audience. If 75% of your readers are in favor of marijuana, make 75% of your articles about microwavable recipes and movie theater nacho reviews.
Hayley read the news today, oh boy. Follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek