The Northeast Dallas County Record has ceased publication after 118 years serving the citizens of Woodward, Granger, Dallas Center and Grimes. The Jan. 28 issue was the newspaper’s last.
The paper began publishing as the Woodward Enterprise in 1887, and the company started producing a sister edition called the Dallas Center Times in 1906. Both papers were merged in 1969 into the Northeast Dallas County Record, under the ownership of R. W. Boyles.
Merle Shawd of Woodward bought the paper from Boyles in 1979 and ran it until 1999, when he sold it to Michael Gartner, Gary Gerlach and David Belin, owners of Partnership Press Inc., which also owned the Adel-based Dallas County News and several other papers. Partnership Press was itself bought out shortly afterward by the Omaha World-Herald Co.
Stephens Media, a Las Vegas newspaper company, bought the Northeast Dallas Coounty Record in 2010 and sold it in 2015 to New Media Investment Group, a company out of New York. The Woodward publication was one of several small central Iowa papers now managed from Ames by Gatehouse Media Iowa Holdings, the Iowa division of New Media Investment Group. The company still owns the Dallas County News, the Perry Chief and others.
Shawd, a Bayard native who spent more than 60 years in the news business, said he was sad to see the paper’s demise, which he attributed to faulty management.
“It was originally founded in 1887 as the Woodward Enterprise and has been run continuously ever since,” Shawd said, “until these people took it over and ran it into the ground.”
Shawd said his former readers no longer receive the kind of local news the Northeast Dallas County Record once delivered.
“When I sold out, I had a subscription list of 2,400,” Shawd said, “and the last I knew they had less than 500. That’s in all four towns — Woodward, Granger, Dallas Center and Grimes — that’s who I covered.”
In recent years, the content of the Northeast Dallas County Record mirrored more or less exactly the content of the paper from Adel, where it was produced.
Iowa law requires cities, counties and other public entities to publish notices of meetings, hearings and other proceedings in a timely manner in order to inform people about matters of public importance. Faced with the loss of its official publication, the Woodward City Council voted at its last meeting to begin publishing its legal notices in the Adel paper.