Editor’s note: This city profile is part of a larger project in which Daily Universe reporters traveled across Utah and Wyoming to investigate the state of local newspapers.
City: Kemmerer, Wyoming
Newspaper: Kemmerer Gazette
Circulation: About 3,000
History: Kemmerer is located in southwest Wyoming and is the county seat for Lincoln County. The town was organized in 1897 and incorporated in 1899 by Patrick Quealy. He and his partner and investor, Mahlon Kemmerer, began developing coal mines in Frontier, a company town, and in Kemmerer, an independent town.
Kemmerer and Frontier were incorporated into Lincoln County in 1911. The Kemmerer and Quealy partnership brought the Kemmerer Coal Company to the region. The mining properties are still in operation today and are owned by Westmoreland Kemmerer.
In the center of town, the unique Herschler Triangle Park is the site of the remaining 100 plus-year-old buildings from Kemmerer’s heyday. Included is America’s second J.C. Penney store, built when Mr. Penney was in business with partners. Called the Golden Rule store, the “mother” store for J.C. Penney has been in operation since 1929. J.C. Penney’s home, where Mr. Penney lived with his wife and children, is open for public tours to during the warmer months of the year.
Newspaper: The local newspaper, the Kemmerer Gazette, began publishing in 1924. The newspaper focuses more on local news like personal profiles and community events than on federal and government news, but it remains popular in the city and among neighboring towns. The newspaper has a larger circulation than the number of people who currently live in Kemmerer. The Gazette is published every Thursday and the printed copy sells for $1. The newspaper also has a web page, which is updated with the same news as the print edition. The Kemmerer Gazette’s Facebook page is also frequently used to distribute local and regional news. There are those who don’t read the local newspaper, but residents generally seem to believe it is a good influence within the community.
An informal survey of readers by BYU reporting students about their newspaper showed the following:
- Good coverage of local issues
- Strong sports section
- The newspaper publishes several personal profiles of people who live in the town each year
Those who read the Kemmerer Gazette especially like the newspaper’s coverage of local issues. Some readers surveyed said if the newspaper were to stop publishing, it would have a negative impact on the community. Especially for those who live farther away from town, it is a good way for them to keep in touch of what is happening. Locals also noted they appreciate the sports section of the paper. They believe this section of the paper is covered well.
- The newspaper could improve its coverage of business
- Does not cover federal and state impact very well
- The newspaper could focus a little more on both city and county governmental issues
A few local residents surveyed said they have stopped reading the newspaper because they don’t like its coverage, but the Kemmerer Gazette has a larger circulation than the current town population, and is popular in neighboring towns.