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A-Z History of Sumner, Washington - Journalism

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Many publishers consider the phrase successful newspaper an oxymoron. Even before the competition created by television and the internet, newspapers were difficult to establish and often failed before they found enough readers to earn their keep.

This seems especially true of Sumner, where each valiant effort to publish a successful newspaper failed. The Sumner Herald was established in 1889, eight years after the town incorporated, and just four years later was sold to new owners.

Despite the vagaries of their chosen profession, Sumner publishers were leaders in the community. Herbert J. Trubshaw organized a Sumner band in 1901; worked in real estate, life and fire insurance: and served Sumner as a notary public and police judge. When the flood of 1906 prevented supplies of newsprint from reaching Sumner he printed an issue of the Sumner Index on butcher paper form the local meat market. Pete and Janette Andrews note:
Judge Trubshaw was also the recorder of vital statistics for several years. Hurt when city officials took the job from him due to advanced years, he burned all of the records.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edward Andrews managed to put the newspaper to bed each week, kept a cow and chickens, subsidized their income with a garden of raspberries and blackberries for the cannery, and were active in the Methodist Church. Mr. Andrews served on the city council, as head of the cemetery committee, and as police judge. During World War I their newspaper became the distribution point for free Victory Garden seed. They made sure Sumner soldiers fighting in both world wars and the Korean conflict received the newspaper free.

Mr. and Mrs. Pete Andrews were equally active in civic and community affairs. Pete, the son of C. E. Andrews, writes:
I think we had different values in our newspaper years. We thought writing about the goings and comings of our subscribers, who were most important to us, was uppermost… We seldom had room for police blotter reporting and never had space for professional columnists, nor did we concern ourselves with national or even state news or editorials. We left all of that to the dailies. We also did not permit friends and neighbors to be torn apart by dramatizing controversies and harping on them through the News-Index columns. The town could lose a lot and gain nothing.

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Information on these pages is provided in part by Daffodil Valley Times Staff and The City of Sumner, Wa.

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