The colorful, the cute, and the crazy.
If you ever enjoyed the segment Small Town News on The Late Show with David Letterman, you know that our nation’s tinier newspapers are filled with gems of stories. As Letterman once said, they contain pieces that are “wistful,” “thought-provoking,” and others that are “downright hilarious” whether it’s important reporting on a school board conflict or an ad offering two Persian cats to trade for a pool table in good condition.
But sometimes just the name of the paper says it all, and, with that in mind, we’ve selected our favorite 20 small town newspaper names in the South. Some are funny, some are fierce, and others, well, perplexing.
Obviously, we have a winner. The idea to start the DeQueen Bee didn’t start in Arkansas, but rather on the steps of the Nashville courthouse steps where Walter A. Boyd, a printer, and J. W. Bishop, a lawyer, decided to start a newspaper in what was a promising, brand new city of 15,000 people on the railroad.
The Daily Siftings Herald
Just like flour or field peas, the news needs to be sifted too. Fun fact: Arkansas State Representative Andy Mayberry was a sports editor for The Daily Siftings Herald.
WATCH: The South's Best Small Town 2017: Beaufort, SC
An outstanding use of alliteration, but sadly the Jefferson Jimplecute has been embroiled in drama since 2015 when the entire staff quit due to pay disputes. It continues now as a weekly and persists as the 5th oldest newspaper in the country. What is a Jimplecute? We may never know, but theories abound that it might be a Civil War-era term of endearment or an acronym for Join Industry, Manufacturing, Planting, Labor, Energy, Capital (in) Unity Together Everlastingly.
The word Onlooker has a certain connotation to it doesn’t it?
While the Columbus Packet might not necessarily be the most colorful name on this list, the contents are indeed a variety pack of interests. We’re big fans of Big Mike’s Business Briefs in which Big Mike Livingston checks up on local establishments (sometimes with his mama), but The Packet also excels at on-the-ground reporting in regards to crime and civic matters.
Sea Coast Echo
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Even during Hurricane Katrina, the Sea Coast Echo did not miss a single issue. Instead, they produced their issues with a sister paper in Kentucky and trucked the issues back to Bay St. Louis.
The Gazebo Gazette
Pass Christian, Mississippi
Named after the city’s emblem, the Gazebo Gazette was created after Hurricane Katrina devastated Pass Christian and residents needed a form of basic communication. It’s now the subject of the book Pass Christian and the Gazebo Gazette: A Gulf Community's Post-Katrina Triumph.
Cape Coral Daily Breeze
Cape Coral, Florida
The first issue created by resident Dick Crawford was a one-page, mimeographed sheet featuring birth and wedding announcements.
Consensus: more newspapers should be named after fruits.
In the 1940s, The Nugget was owned by William M. and Mary Lou B. Smith who wrote some very controversial editorials against keeping chickens and pigs within the city limits, which led many residents to cancel their subscriptions. They also missed three issues during their tenure (the only ones in the paper’s history) as they spent much of their time opening The Smith House restaurant and inn, which is still open today.
The Polk Fish Wrap
Polk County, Georgia
Founded: 2014 (Merger of two papers, one of which dates back to 1869)
We are still standing deep in the mystery of The Fish Wrap. While it goes by the name of the Polk County Standard Journal today, a visit to www.thepolkfishwrap.com redirects you to the newspapers site. The paper also goes by @polkfishwrap on Facebook, but any mention of the history or etymology behind this name remains illusive. We are left only to speculate.
Troublesome Creek Times
Knott County, Kentucky
Their self-deprecating tagline reads: under a million copies sold each week.
Tulane University, Louisiana
While it may be published in New Orleans (which some may argue to be a very big small town), The Hullabaloo serves the smaller community of Tulane University. The paper changed its name from the Tulane Weekly to The Hullabaloo on January 16, 1920. A staff editorial stated, “The staff favors the new name because it is representative of Tulane and is original above all else.”
The Yadkin Ripple
Yadkin, North Carolina
The Ripple’s unique name is said to have peaked the curiosity of President Harry S. Truman and Colonel” W.E. Rutledge (who were attending a groundbreaking ceremony for nearby Wake Forest University) so much so that they came to visit the staff.
The Monroe County Buzz
Monroe County, Tennessee
The local love for this paper inspired a small but still notable Facebook group called “Friends Who Like the Monroe County Buzz.”
Sewanee Mountain Messenger
The University of the South helped start the Mountain Messenger and continues to support the free weekly.
One of the oldest newspapers in Texas, The Alpine Avalanche serves Brewster County, which is the largest by land area in the state (three times the size of Delaware) and home to Big Bend National Park.
The Big Lake Wildcat
Big Lake, Texas
Winner for the fiercest newspaper name, John Hibdon named the paper in 1925 after the Wildcat oil wells that dotted the area, hence its mascot on the front page.
Brazoria County, Texas
Home to Texas’ first capital Velasco, Brazoria County’s newspaper originally started as the Freeport Facts, but now stands simply and boldly as The Facts.
The Pflugerville Pflag
Winner for alliteration (the competition was clearly contentious), the Pflugerville Pflag continues as a weekly under the Austin Statesman.