Northeast Dallas County Record folds after publishing for 118 years

Not with a bang but with a whimper

The Northeast Dallas County Record ceased publication Jan. 28 after 118 years of continuous publication. The newspaper was owned by a New York company, New Media Investment Group, doing business in Iowa as Gatehouse Media Iowa Holdings.

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
Merle Shawd

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.


  1. Not a surprise readership dwindled so much. Their commitment to the communities they served and coverage of local news had degraded so much that it wasn’t worth reading anymore. And the content I see in their remaining papers in Dallas County makes me wonder whether those publications are headed down the same path. Thankful that we have the picking up the slack, not only in Perry but also the surrounding communities!

    • People who want local news and better stories would do well to financially support local media outlets with advertising dollars, subscriptions or donations.

      We claim to want good, local news, but do not want to pay for it. Then quality and content decline so people are even more disinclined to pay. Then eventually the media in question disappears. If people feel they are receiving value from, then by all means, show your support with some money.

  2. Maybe it will resell to Fox News, and we can get breaking news on Miley Cyrus’ boyfriends and upcoming Star Wars’ releases. That would be cool.


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