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Frozen In Time: Benton County News [VIDEO]

Frozen in Time: A WJON News Series

FOLEY — One local family has been documenting the history of Foley and Benton County for more than 80 years. This week in our “Frozen In Time” series we stopped to Benton County News.

Severyn D. Youso started the local paper during the great depression 84 years ago. He was a local newsman that had a passion for writing. He originally wanted to be an attorney but didn’t have enough money to go to school. Youso’s father-in-law wanted to get into the newspaper business and convinced Youso to start his own newspaper.

Youso opened up shop in a small wood building along Broadway Avenue North in Foley. He worked another job part time to support his new business. Ronald Youso is the second generation owner of Benton County News. He says his father had a lot of courage to start a company during The Great Depression, “it’s something I never would have guts enough to do.”

The weekly paper is published on Tuesday morning. Since 1932, the newspaper hasn’t missed an issue.

A fire burned down the original building in the 1940s and destroyed nearly all of the paper’s archives. Ronald Youso says hot metal from the metal pot spilled on the floor and set the wood building on fire. The new building was constructed in 1949 and is still used today.

Ronald Youso took over the paper when his father retired in 1976, becoming the second generation owner. He was working in Michigan as a teacher at the time. Ronald says he wasn’t very fond of the tedious process it was to put together a paper.

He says he’s grown to like the job more over the years with the changing of technology, “each step along the way you said, ‘well this got better and this got better.’ The first time we had a computer we had a [small] box screen. I thought we had utopia. It was really nothing but at the time it was all there was.”

Ronald Youso’s son Keith started working as an editor for the paper in 2006. He hopes to keep the family business going when his father decides to retire.

Ashli Gerdes, WJON News

 

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