Northeast News looks back on 80 years

By LESLIE COLLINS
Northeast News

July 4, 2012

When Michael Bushnell first bought Northeast News, he was afraid to sit in the office furniture.

Wax covered everything.

“There were wax deposits on the floor that were almost a half an inch thick,” said Bushnell, co-owner and publisher of Northeast News.

Bushnell and his wife, Chris, purchased the newspaper in 1998 during the “cut and paste” era of newspapers. Using wax, staff would paste photos and articles onto sheets of grid paper to lay out the newspaper. Once laid out, the sheets were sent to the printing company to be photographed and printed.

“That’s the way I was brought up, so I didn’t know any differently,” Bushnell said of the cut and paste way.

Bushnell has long since nixed the wax and is now celebrating the newspaper’s 80th anniversary of serving Historic Northeast.

“I’m just happy to be a part of it, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” he said of the 80th anniversary. “You’re not just part of a newspaper, you’re part of an institution.”

One of the most significant changes Bushnell made to Northeast News was transform it from a shopper into a community driven newspaper.

“At the time, the Northeast News was not the Northeast News that we know now. It was a shopper,” Bushnell said. “If you wanted to get an article of any length in the newspaper, you had to buy an ad.

“We really turned the community on its ear from the standpoint of the calls that we were getting: ‘You’re messing up my schedule because now I have to stop and read this thing instead of just throwing it in the trash or using it in the grill or lining the bird cage.’ Those were all compliments that we took with great pride.”

During the early years, there were several mishaps. There was the time a disgruntled reader threw bricks through an office window and the time they lost power at the office. Bushnell and his staff then lugged the computers to his Northeast home and sat around his dining room table to work.

Although Bushnell likes the writing aspect of a newspaper, he most enjoys selling ads, he said. Both his father and grandfather were salesmen, and before purchasing Northeast News, Bushnell worked for more than 17 years in sales in the telecom and newspaper and magazine industries.

“Being the more gregarious person, I just like being out there and pushing my product,” he said.

• • •

In 2001, Northeast News moved from its 4603 St. John location to its current location at 5715 St. John Ave., the same office building where Bushnell closed on his first house in Northeast.

By 2003, the newspaper finally made the jump to offering online content.

“I never thought I’d be in the Internet and the breaking news business,” Bushnell said. “I never thought that I would compete with radio and TV for breaking stories. Especially with a weekly community newspaper, the paradigm was today’s news next Wednesday. Breaking from that paradigm was incredible and eye opening.”

For Bushnell, offering content that other news outlets notice is rewarding and a bragging right.

“It’s pretty cool when you have a scrappy dirt kicker weekly in a forgotten neighborhood that beats electronic media with a breaking news story that affects the whole community,” he said. “The most recent form of that would be the Don Bosco story (regarding the organization’s finances) that other people have picked up. It makes me feel proud when other larger news outlets that should be in the breaking news business pick up what we’ve done and run a story we’ve broken.”

Bushnell also boasted that Northeast News is one of the last independently owned community newspapers in Kansas City. As a community newspaper, Northeast News focuses on a variety of topics that affect Northeast residents, whether it be a business profile, community block watch programs or neighborhood schools. While Northeast News reports on some negative issues, it also finds the positive happening within the community. Other news outlets tend to focus on the negatives in Northeast and Bushnell called those “drive-bys.” TV trucks will briefly park in Northeast reporting live from a scene, whether it be a fatal wreck, a homicide or a drug bust.

“We’re here every single day. We never really leave the scene,” Bushnell said. “While we might offer coverage of those events, there’s nobody over here that’s offering the love stories that were spawned at The Don Bosco Senior Center, there’s nobody over here that’s profiling neighborhood people or profiling a soccer team or a soccer coach that keeps kids off the street. That’s really not important to the mainstream media. That’s not journalism that sells to them.”

As Bushnell talked about the newspaper and Northeast, he made it clear he’s not going anywhere. And he’s not begrudging walking into work, either.

“I don’t consider this a job. It’s a career. It’s a passion. It’s a huge responsibility,” he said. “I’m one of the lucky ones. I really am. I’m doing what I love. I’m absolutely doing what I love.”

Comments are closed.

  • Hidden gem slowly getting discovered

    August 18th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Hookers and handguns. What was once a common thought for what one would find along Independence Avenue is no more.


    American Jazz Museum gearing up for Charlie Parker

    August 4th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri – To celebrate Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, one of the most influential artists in Jazz music history, the Kansas City Jazz Museum and KC Jazz Alive


    Children’s Choice helping kids for nearly 40 years

    June 30th, 2015
    by

    By Michaela Bishop Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Children’s Choice Daycare has helped over thousands of children within the past 39 years.
    The daycare itself helps children from ages ranging to


    Diversity plaza coming to east end of Northeast

    June 24th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Northeast is one step closer to getting a plaza to represent its diversity.
    Last week, the Finance, Governance and Ethics Committee, as well as


    Chamber celebrates 21 years in style

    June 16th, 2015
    by

    Birthday celebration for the ages. Last week, the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 21st birthday in style.


  • Northeast Chamber of Commerce celebrates 21 years of business

    June 2nd, 2015
    by

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — There are only a few birthdays really worth celebrating.


    Storefront improvement help is on the way

    May 12th, 2015
    by

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — A new program can help some Northeast storefronts improve their image.


    Hardesty Renaissance ready for its next step

    May 5th, 2015
    by

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The folks behind the Hardesty Renaissance rehabilitation are getting closer to achieving their dream.


    Back Door Pottery a staple along St. John Avenue

    March 31st, 2015
    by

    By Samantha Belcourt Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Back Door Pottery was originally built in the 1920’s.


    Update on development in Columbus Park

    March 4th, 2015
    by

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Columbus Park is growing.
    And after the most recent Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce meeting, members have a better idea of


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Fire at abandoned elementary school in Northeast

    Joe Jarosz Northeast News Aug. 28, 2015 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Kansas City Fire Department spent Friday morning battling […]

    Charges filed in Monday’s shooting

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Aug. 27, 2015 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — One suspect is in police custody following a shooting […]

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder [...]