A Brief History of the Harlan Newspapers


THE HARLAN NEWSPAPERS has a history dating back to 1870, making it one of Harlan's oldest operating businesses.

From the late 1800's to the early 1900's - Shelby County readers were served by a variety of combative and politically opposite newspapers. Each fought for readership and advertising dollars for their success.

By the 1930s - the newspaper field was narrowed down to the Harlan Republican (est. 1870) and the Harlan Tribune (est. 1879).

1939 - Leo Mores and Wayne Cramer purchased the Harlan Tribune from Earl Davis and Fred Louis, Jr. Mores came to Harlan from the Rockwell City newspaper where he'd worked following graduation from Iowa State College. Cramer was a well-known Wayne, Nebraska publisher. Cramer offered Mores a partnership which would allow him to buy Cramer out over a period of time. Mores later used this same approach to promote the future of a dozen Iowa newspaper publishers.

1946 - the News Advertiser (formerly the Republican) was purchased from Glen Liston who had been in partnership with longtime publisher David Brown. Leo and Irene Mores became sole owners of both papers in 1958 following the death of Cramer and Mores's cousin, and fellow Denison Publisher John DeGaard, in a plane crash in Denison.

1967 - the company embraced the offset printing process, and instead of joining other publishers to buy a press, the family bought their own press, creating a central printing plant for 10 area newspapers.

1968 - Leo's son, Steve, became associate publisher after graduating from Iowa State and the Univ. of Iowa. In 1974 - he became co-publisher after stints as the newspaper's sports editor and business manager.

1978 - purchased five new Goss newspaper press units as well as partnered with the now-named MediaCom and created a news and weather Cable TV channel.

1980 - Leo's other son, Alan, joined the family business after graduating from Iowa State, and he became co-publisher in 1984.

1989 - embraced computer technology utilizing Apple and Adobe's desktop publishing systems.

1991 - press room added a second story and sixth unit was added.

1996 - Media Management was created, a marketing arm offering customized marketing plans.

November 1999 - introduced HarlanOnline.com which now averages over 100,000 pages views per month, over 600 subscribers and twice named Iowa's top twice weekly newspaper web site.

2005 - a complete color copier center was added

2006 - purchased two double high Goss presses (total of 10 units) and partnered with SmallTownPapers to have their newspapers digitally archived.

2007 - print over 35 publications in Iowa and Nebraska with a dedicated staff of 25. They are Iowa's fifth largest twice weekly newspaper and their staff have garnered over 250 state and national awards.

2009 - One of only 20 newspapers across the nation and the only in Iowa to embrass Kodak's new environmentally friendly computer-to-plate processing system. Taking our workflow from 15-20 minutes down to less than three minutes per plate with no chemicals or heat treatment. As a result of our purchase five other regional operations purchased the Kodak equipment.

2010 -- Upgraded our website to include video and more enhanced news and advertising features courtesy of Townnews.

2012 - began our new Harlan Online e-editon with archives of current and past issues, cut/paste email stories to friends or your scrapbook and receive the paper with 90 minutes after it hits our presses.

2012 -- first Shelby County business to offer an iPad app as well as Droid and Kindle Fire apps.

2016 - e-edition and web site becomes fully mobile ready with help of Surf New Media.

2018 - the business was named business of the year by the Shelby County Chamber.

2020 -- The Mores family sells the Harlan Newspapers after 81 years of service to the community.  Louie Mullen, owner of Blackbird LLC, became the new owner.  Josh Byers is named publisher.

The award winning family business - has garnered three of Iowa's highest journalism honors - the Master Editor Publisher award (Alan, Leo & Steve Mores) and earned five Harlan citizen of the year awards (Alan, Steve & Leo Mores, Mike Kolbe, Lori Christensen) and in 2003 Alan and Steve were named SBA Journalists of the Year. Managing editor Bob Bjoin has won more than 40 state and national awards. Pressman Terry Holdren (2011) and marketing manager, Mike Kolbe (2016) were recipients of the Iowa Newspaper Assoc. Heritage Award. 

The press, pre-press, advertising and support staff continues to receive rave reviews of their excellent quality control and dependable management style.

1114 7th St., PO Box 721
Harlan, IA 51537
FAX 712-755-3324






Harlan Newspapers

1114 7th Street
P.O. Box 721
Harlan, IA 51537-0721

(800) 909-6397

Comment Here