From the same folks that brought you the SaveOttumwa shopper (LINK HERE) comes the Ottumwa Evening Post (LINK HERE.)
The SaveOttumwa shopper is mailed and distributed to two counties. The Post will only be online -- at first. But together they are in complete competition with the flailing Courier, which can't seem to go a full week without having one of its headlines panned on Jay Leno's tonight show. (Blame interns in Michigan for that -- they are actually writing the headlines now.)
This is no joke, The Post hired a real news person with real credibility to run the news show, and from all appearances, they are going about this in an intelligent way. The Courier's present management has destroyed much of the publication's credibility in the community, and because of the recent change to centralized pagination, the paper no longer comes out with news in a timely way. The early runs needed to have the paper laid out in Michigan screw up all the deadlines. Stories, obits, police blotters and sports scores are usually one day late, and often they are two, three and even four days late due to the Courier's decision to drop its Monday paper.
To make matters worse, the Courier doesn't seem to know how to compete online. Their Internet face is a joke -- attempts to establish themselves through Twitter, Facebook and other social networks have been an abysmal failure. This is a result of having just one unqualified guy -- a guy who actually should be writing news stories -- in charge of all of that.
Yep, the Courier is very vulnerable right now. The paper has either chased off or deliberately cut its most experienced news and sales people over the last few years -- people who have been through news wars and know how to handle them. A lot of those same people are likely to contribute to the Post just out of spite. Anything to stick it to their old bosses who ran them out.
There are still good, very skilled news and sports people working at the Courier, but they are overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated by management. Frankly, most of them don't give a crap any more, they've been beaten down mentally and spiritually.
The Post plans to be an afternoon online paper, publishing at 4 p.m. each day. This gives it an opportunity to take a look at what the Courier has done before it publishes. So even if the Courier does beat them to something, they can always do the Courier one better on the same day.
The bell could be tolling for the Ottumwa Courier.
UPDATE TO CAR THEFTS -- ARREST MADE
Both the Courier and the Post were once again scooped today by the little old local weekly Bloomfield Democrat on the story about the rash of car thefts throughout the area. The Democrat reports that an arrest has been made:
So Iowa Scribe got it second. Watching now, to see which of Ottumwa's dailies has it third.