Like many counties across the state, Ringgold County in southern Iowa once had nearly a dozen newspapers operating simultaneously. Even some of the county’s smallest communities had a weekly paper: the Shannon City Messenger folded in the 1942 following the editor’s death, the Redding Herald ceased in 1957, and Kellerton’s weekly paper was discontinued in 1962. Currently, just two papers exist in Ringgold County, the Progress out of Diagonal, population 330, and the Record-News from Ringgold’s county seat Mount Ayr.
The pictured building serves as the office for the Mount Ayr Record-News, which can trace its history to the formation of the Ringgold Record newspaper in 1865. The competing Twice-a-Week News dates to 1893, and the Record-News moniker was formed when the two papers merged in 1907. Local businessman Sam Spurrier bought the paper in 1911, which has only changed ownership three times in the last 100 years. Since 1981, H. Alan Smith has been the owner, publisher and editor of the Mount Ayr Record-News, Ringgold County’s most widely circulated newspaper.