Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2000

DeSoto Explorer moving into a new era of publishing

March 2, 2000

Nearly two years ago to the day, The DeSoto Explorer - the brainchild of Bert and Vickie Hull - was born. Today, The Explorer takes its first steps into a new era.

The purchase by the World Company of the weekly publication takes The Explorer to a high-tech, four-color level. However, the journalistic groundwork put in place by the Hulls will not be forgotten. In fact, those same practices will be followed daily by an expanded staff, which will allow for more comprehensive coverage of the community.

"The DeSoto Explorer will continue the work of Bert and Vickie," said new publisher Dan Simon. "We're grateful for their hard work and are excited about the opportunities in DeSoto. We look forward to being a part of this community."

The Hulls began operation of The Explorer in early March of 1998. Before that, Bert Hull had worked in of the Lawrence Journal-World. The Hulls also owned and operated a weekly publication in Little River, Kan. A weekly paper in neighboring Eudora, started by the Hulls in 1989, was included in the sale to the World Company.

The Hulls made the decision to sell last month after coming to the realization that it was becoming increasingly hard to keep up with DeSoto's rapid growth. Meanwhile, more than 10 years of constant work without vacations, the need to hire additional employees and purchase more modern equipment and a desire to travel and consider other business possibilities factored into their decision.

It was no longer feasible for a husband-and-wife team to stay in business, Bert Hull said.

"Bert realized that to stay in business, he would have to invest quite a bit of time and money," said World Company co-managers Dan Simons and Dolph Simons III. "At this point in his life, that was a tough decision. We will invest the time and money to take this publication to the next level.

DeSoto's growth is dramatic. The school district, which will add a second high school and a fourth elementary school in the fall, is growing annually at 10 percent - the highest such percentage in Kansas.

Development is also on the rise and, if the Wonderful World of Oz amusement park does in fact become a reality, this city will become one of Johnson County and Eastern Kansas' economic engines, according to city officials.

In other words, it's an exciting time for DeSoto and The Explorer plans to be the voice of record when it comes to this community.

The World Company, a private, 108-year-old family-owned company, is the parent company of the Lawrence Journal-World. The Lawrence-based company also owns the Tonganoxie Mirror and the Baldwin Signal in addition to Sunflower Cablevision.

Simon, a former adviser at The University Daily Kansan who has extensive experience in the newspaper industry, will concentrate on making The Explorer the best possible paper for the DeSoto area by being as fair, accurate and unbiased as possible.

The Simons brothers emphasized the new publications in DeSoto and Eudora will be totally separate operations.

"Bert and Vickie have spent 11 years developing and growing the DeSoto Explorer and Eudora News," said Dolph Simons Jr., editor and publisher of the Journal-World. "They have worked tirelessly and we plan to build on their hard work and their commitment to the communities of DeSoto and Eudora."

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