The Gazette has been serving McCook and the Golden Plains of Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas since 1911. The newspaper was founded by Harry Strunk and a partner, Burris Stewart. Apparently depressed over additional debt and family problems, Mr. Stewart committed suicide on the day the second issue was printed.
Mr. Strunk, only 19 at the time of the Gazette's origin, persevered in the face of adversity and continued to serve as the newspaper's publisher until his death in 1960.
First known as the Red Willow County Gazette, the newspaper started as a weekly and evolved into a semi-weekly and tri-weekly publication before becoming a daily in 1924. Five years later, in 1929, the Gazette became the first newspaper in the world to be regularly delivered by airplane. Called "The Newsboy," the plane dropped newspapers in area towns for several months before being damaged in a windstorm and taken out of service.
After serving in the Korean War and graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., Harry Strunk's son, Allen, returned to McCook and succeeded his father as publisher. Under Allen Strunk's direction, the Gazette converted to the offset method of printing and became one of the most circulated dailies in the nation in counties with less than 15,000 population.
On Dec. 31, 1986, the Strunk family sold the Gazette to Gozia-Driver Media, a company which was later re-incorporated as US Media Group, Inc. Then, in 1997, the Gazette became part of Rust Communications.
The Gazette's Publisher, Sharyn Skiles, has been with the company since 1988, originally serving as Business Manager. Through the years, she has assumed duties in circulation, advertising, editorial, and production. She became General Manager in 2004 and Publisher in 2007.
The Gazette has 47 full and part-time employees and 81 newspaper carriers, who deliver the daily newspaper in 27 towns in Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas. The newspaper is published Monday through Friday afternoons.
The newspaper's slogan -- printed daily in the masthead and inscribed in a plaque at the front door -- is: "Service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy in this world."