The News and TheNews-IA.com are family-owned publications that cover north Washington County and south Johnson County in eastern Iowa. The newspaper and website are owned by Jim and Bridget Johnson. They are actively involved in producing the newspaper day-in and day-out. If you stop by office in Kalona, you’ll often see Bridget designing and selling advertising and Jim working with editors on the next edition.
The Johnsons met while working for the college newspaper at the University of California at Riverside. They have been working for newspapers ever since. They bring a passion for community journalism that is obvious to anyone meeting them. Their goal is to create a news organization that produces products renowned for excellence in journalism and advertising.
In October 2016, the Johnsons bought five newspapers serving four communities along Highway 22 just south of Iowa City – Wellman, Kalona, Riverside and Lone Tree. Each newspaper brought a long history.
The Wellman Advance: The Wellman Advance was established Sept. 13, 1889, by William Reed and W.F. Reinert. The newspaper’s slogan – “The only newspaper that gives two whoops about Wellman” – still describes The News’ dedication to covering Wellman.
The Lone Tree Reporter: The Lone Tree Reporter was first published in December 1890. Editor W.H. Younkin promoted the value of The Newspaper. “No town ever amounted to shucks unless it supported a newspaper. There is no one thing that does so much to get a town before the people and bring people and businesses to it as a good local newspaper.”
The Kalona News: The first issue of The Kalona News was published on Nov. 19, 1891, and continues as Kalona's oldest continuously operating business. Emma Allen Dunlap founded The Kalona News. Dunlap espoused a philosophy that still guides the newspaper today: “With a firm belief in the town and its future we shall do our utmost for the interest of Kalona and the surrounding country, and trust that your patronage will enable us to make The News a first-class local paper. The better a paper is the more valuable it is to a town.”
The Riverside Current: The Riverside Current was established in 1978 by Barbara Kiene. It was first published as a weekly tabloid until 2010 when it began printing as a broadsheet. Prior to The Current, The Riverside News and Shopper printed its first edition in July 1955. It was published by The Lone Tree Reporter. Marge Luckey was the editor.
The Highland Review: The Highland Review was a free newspaper mailed to all households in Riverside and Ainsworth.
The five newspapers were previously owned by two companies, Slechta Communications and Three Chicks Publications. the newspapers were combined into a single, larger newspaper in 2016 called The News, which continues to cover all of the communities.
All of these newspapers have a long history of serving their communities. The News continues this long tradition of excellence with the news and advertising delivered to readers in north Washington County and south Johnson County through The News published every Thursday and digital products delivering news and advertising daily.
The News is designated an official newspaper of Washington and Johnson counties; the cities of Kalona, Wellman, Riverside and Lone Tree; and the Mid-Prairie, Highland and Lone Tree school districts.
The Johnsons are fortunate to have a talented and dedicated staff, a staff that works every day to publish products – both in print and online – that meet the news and advertising needs of readers. The talents of the staff are reflected in the awards it receives from the Iowa Newspaper Association. In 2019, The newspaper was honored with five awards:
First place, best coverage of education.
First place, best personality feature.
Second place, best sports feature photo.
Second place, best real estate ad.
Third place, best ad designer.
It is the goal of The News and TheNews-IA.com to provide readers with the most comprehensive coverage of news, photos, sports, features and advertising of any publication in north Washington County and south Johnson County. The goal is to keep readers informed about the activities in the cities of Kalona, Wellman, Riverside and Lone Tree plus the Mid-Prairie, Hillcrest Academy, Highland and Lone Tree schools.
The News is owned by Johnson Iowa Media Inc., an Iowa-based corporation. Johnson Iowa Media Inc. was established in April 2012 as Anamosa Publications Inc. In 2018, when the Johnsons sold the Anamosa newspaper, they were required to change the name of the corporation.