Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Newspaper war rages on Kansas High Plains

One April morning, Earl Watt made his routine appearance on KLKT-TV to promote the day’s headlines in The Southwest Times.

He’d worked for the Liberal, Kan., newspaper for 17 years, from pressman to publisher.

After Watt left the TV station, he dropped a resignation letter on his desk and headed across the railroad tracks — nearly all his staff followed — to give birth to the High Plains Daily Leader.

Seven months later, the new newspaper and the old one both are running stories about the lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court accusing Watt of trying to steal Liberal’s newspaper market out from under his former bosses.

The suit is the latest stage of a newspaper war pitting locals running an upstart against corporate owners putting out the old standard.

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