Mission: The mission of The Olathe News is to be a fair, honest and accurate information source for our dynamic community. Our business exists to serve readers and advertisers, while supporting our community through our news, commentary and philanthropic endeavors.
Founded: The roots of The Olathe News are as old as Kansas itself. In 1861, John Francis began Olathe's second weekly newspaper, The Mirror, which voiced opposition to slavery. The competing 5-year-old Olathe Herald supported slavery. Late one night in 1862, rebel raider William C. Quantrill and his men rode through town, intent on burning The Mirror's office. But when morning dawned, Olathe residents discovered the raiders had destroyed the wrong newspaper. The Mirror bought what was left of the Herald. In 1921, the weekly Johnson County Democrat was founded; in 1959, John P. Harris, bought both newspapers and combined them into the town's first daily. The Olathe News rolled off the press April 5, 1960. Five different publishers guided the newspaper under Harris Enterprises until 1998, when it was sold to Tim O'Donnell. Knight Ridder acquired The Daily News in April 2000. In 2004, the newspaper was renamed The Olathe News. In 2006, McClatchy acquired The Olathe News in its purchase of Knight Ridder. On April 1, 2009, The Olathe News combined operations with The Kansas City Star. The Olathe News has independent subscribers, but also serves as the Olathe zone edition of The Kansas City Star.
Editor: Grace Hobson: 816-234-4306, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
General Hiring Contact: The Kansas City Star: 816-234-4636
Market: Olathe is the county seat of Johnson County, Kan., the greater Kansas City area's most affluent and fastest-growing county. Olathe's market population is nearly 185,000 and includes Olathe, southern Johnson County, northern Miami County and eastern Douglas County. Olathe's share of the Johnson County population is expected to reach 20 percent by 2010. Olathe's strong and steady growth began more than 20 years ago. Olathe was still a small, rural town in the 1960s with a population of about 10,000. Today, it has grown to nearly 127,000 and has not only blossomed into a full-blown city, but also a strong suburban community in the southwest portion of the metropolitan Kansas City area. The county's well-diversified economy and strong business linkages translate into growth in every sector.
Circulation Area: The Olathe News focuses its circulation in the greater Olathe area and southwest Johnson County, which includes the communities of Lenexa, Gardner, Spring Hill, and Edgerton. Copies are also sold in Paola and Wellsville in Miami and Douglas counties.
Customers: "Family" is a word that describes the makeup of Olathe and the readership of The Olathe News. Olathe's median age is 31.9. The Olathe school district has become the third-largest district in the state of Kansas. The community has a strong faith community with more than 80 churches. The newspaper's readers also are well educated. Almost 95 percent of the city's residents have a high school education or greater and 47 percent hold college degrees. Olathe's median annual household income is estimated to be $66,230.
Site: The Olathe News building was built in 1960. The single-story metal building with an attractive stone front is located about five blocks south of downtown Olathe. The Olathe News now shares the building with The Kansas City Star
Circulation: 25,000 Wednesday and Saturday
Special Projects: The Olathe News is the sponsor paper for Olathe students at Scripps National Spelling Bee (with a Bee finalist in 2006, 07 and 08); outreach to local high school journalism classes and elementary schools; annual outstanding athlete banquet honoring the city's top student-athletes; weekly homes publication; Newspaper in Education delivered to more than 50 classrooms.
Major Awards: Winner of the Kansas Press Association's Sweepstakes Award, best editorial page, best photography news and sports, news and writing excellence and layout and design excellence in recent years.
Major Advertisers: Best Buy; Kohl's, Kmart, Olathe Medical Center, Toys r Us, Bass Pro Shops, and JC Penney.
Creative Ventures: Published a local history book in 2007 to celebrate the city's sesquicentennial.
Special Publications: The Olathe News publishes three special publications each year:
- Olathe Business Guide: This tabloid is inserted into the newspaper on the day of the chamber's annual business meeting in January and given to 500 people who attend the annual meeting. It is distributed by the chamber throughout the year.
- Partners in Education: Published quarterly, this section provides readers with updates on major district projects, bond issues and student achievement.
- Answer Book: Aimed at newcomers to this fast-growing community, the Answer Book is designed to be a useful guide to the Olathe area. Published in July, this tabloid is inserted in the newspaper and distributed in bulk to the local chamber, realtor offices and libraries.
Community Involvement: The newspaper is an active community partner that was honored as the chamber of commerce's first Corporate Citizen of the Year in 1989. The following year, Publisher Michael Hurd was selected as the chamber's Olathe Citizen of the Year. More recently, The Olathe News has played key leadership roles in all of the community's major celebrations: Olathe's 150th Anniversary celebrations, Discover Olathe, Old Settlers and others. In addition, The Olathe News plays an active role in supporting the Olathe Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Lions Club, the Olathe Junior Service League and the Olathe Area United Way, the Olathe Public Schools Foundation, Project Graduation, MidAmerica Nazarene University, and the Olathe Chamber of Commerce.
Academic Sponsorships: Beginning in the 2000-01 school year, The Olathe News established a new college scholarship program for Olathe area high school journalists. Named after Chuck Kurtz, retired managing editor.