#ColoradoStrong: Small town newspapers

5:27 PM, Dec 12, 2013   |    comments
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DOLORES COUNTY - In small towns, news travels fast; faster than the speed of a rural roadway.

For the last three-and-a-half decades Linda and Doug Funk have traveled each and every corner of Dove Creek, Colorado telling their community's story.

"We are constantly told that we're one of the few papers in the area that truly focuses on what's happening here," Linda Funk said.

They cut through the nonsense and tend to focus on what matters most: The people.

"People care about each other, and that is very important," Doug Funk said.

"We went to a conference one time, and they said 'print what the lady on Sycamore Street wants to know,' and we try to keep that focus," Linda said.

It's a simple philosophy that has kept the Dove Creek Press paper alive, even when their readers are quickly fading away.

"Our senior citizen population was our biggest fans and biggest supporters ... they ... are a dying breed," Linda said.

"Every time we write an obituary, it's probably going to mean the end of a subscription. So one a week? That dwindles you down," Doug added.

In the world of small town newspapers, there is a lot of loss, but there is also gain. And it comes in the form of recognition and admiration.

"My husband writes a column," Linda said. "He's got a following that if we don't put his column in the paper we get calls. 'If you're not going to put that in there, we don't even want the paper!' We actually get people who gripe like that."

"Well, I wrote about my pocket knife last week!" Doug chuckled.

Keep it simple, keep it local, keep it real.

"Luckily for us, the values are still the same," Doug added.

Linda and Doug have had the time of their lives running a newspaper, but time is running thin.

"It's time to retire. We're both over 60, let's put it that way," Linda said.

Linda longs for the days of relaxation, and Doug dreams about using his new knife to catch one of those 50-pound catfish out of the Mississippi. But before they print their last paper, they must find the perfect replacement.

"It would almost have to be an interview at that point. Why would you want to live here?" Linda asked. "When somebody comes in to the community and the first thing out of their mouths is 'there's no sidewalks here' - you know they're not going to stay."

Someone who can walk the walk and print the small town talk.

"So that has to be something that someone from outside the area that comes in to purchase the newspaper would have to seriously think about. Do you really want to live where there are no sidewalks? And if that answer is 'absolutely!' Then let's talk," Linda said.

When you've spent the last half of your life staying in tune and recording your community's history, you want to make sure the future will stay strong.

"The guy who sold it to us said 'if you can do what you like to make a living, you'll never work a day in your life'," said Doug.

In Dove Creek, life is good. And it always will be good - as long as the values in this small town remain the same and as long as there's someone around to give it a voice.

To learn more about the Dove Creek Press, visit its Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DoveCreekPress

To send 9NEWS Reporter Kevin Torres a story idea for our #ColoradoStrong segment, email him at kevin.torres@9news.com

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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