March 09, 2012

Leaders of tornado-blasted community cite weekly's reappearance as sign of revival

The office of the weekly Licking Valley Courier "was demolished" and Publisher Earl Kinner's home across the street "was leveled" as Kinner took refuge in his basement during a tornado in West Liberty, Ky., a week ago today, Kentucky Press Association Executive Director David Thompson reports. Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald-Leader has a story about the paper's struggle to recover.

This week's edition was a day late, but at a press conference timed to start exactly a week after the storm hit, Morgan County Judge-Executive Tim Conley held up a copy and said it was a sign the community will return. The headline: "Thank God for sparing so many." (Photo by John Flavell)

The weekly newspaper established its first online presence in the wake of the tornado, as reporter Miranda Cantrell started a Facebook page that includes news updates and the paper's story about the disaster. "It was one of the proudest moments of my life when I saw that press rolling our papers," she told us.

KPA's Kentucky Journalism Foundation has created a fund to assist the paper and any others in Eastern Kentucky that suffered damage. "If you wish to make a donation, please make the check payable to Kentucky Journalism Foundation and mail to 101 Consumer Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601," Thompson writes. "I'm pleased to report that contributions are on their way to the foundation from newspapers in other states as well as state press associations. And I’ve been in touch with Xerox Corporation to request the donation of a printer or two." 

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