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 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   September 1998  issue

Shooting the Messenger   

A fiesty, small town paper faces gunfire.

By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (robertson.lori@gmail.com), a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      

Kansas' Marion County Record , circulation 3,000, practices the kind of aggressive reporting that often angers members of the community, says Publisher Bill Meyer . Even so, it was a bit of a surprise when the windows of the paper's office became targets for someone wielding a pellet gun. Police in the small town of Marion, population 2,000, believe the July 30 incident stems from an article about a woman who had been evicted and left three of her children alone in a local park. This marks the second time Meyer, who has been with the family-owned weekly for 50 years, has seen the paper's windows shot out; he's taking the damage in stride. ``I ran a picture and a story about it, and I described it as a cowardly act," he says. ``We [the paper] speak and they know who we are. But people who do that are hiding."