Another West Texas Newspaper Hangs It Up After After 131 Years


OZONA, TX – Another local newspaper in West Texas has decided to call it quits. 

According to The Ozona Stockman, on June 7, 2023, the paper which was founded in 1895 will print its last issue on June 21. 

The following is the full statement from the Ozona Stockman.

It is with a heavy heart that The Ozona Stockman announces it will cease operations with the final issue to be printed Wednesday, June 21, 2023.

The Ozona Stockman was founded in 1892 as the Ozona Kicker by Claude B. Hudspeth, who later served in the United States Congress from this district. Hudspeth sold the newspaper to the Metcalf brothers in 1895, and they sold it to Clemmie Dodson on September 10, 1903. For a brief time, the paper was called the Courier. Miss Dodson sold it to a publisher from Menard named Hunt, who sold it to Christian Myers of Ozona. Myers sold it to E. L. Burchett. The next owners were G. L. Bunger and Judge Charles E. Davidson. Davidson later bought out Bunger’s interest, and Smith Jones became editor in chief. In 1914 the paper’s name was changed to the Ozona Stockman.

At the time it was largely a trade publication for the ranching industry. W. C. Easterling bought the Ozona Stockman from Judge Davidson and operated it until February 23, 1923, when he sold it to R. J. Cooke. Cooke turned the editing chore over to his son-in-law, John H. Sawyer.

On September 15, 1926, W. Evart White bought the Stockman from Cooke and owned and published it for the next forty-six years. Kitty Montgomery purchased the Stockman from White in July 1972. She had previously served as editor of the newspaper for several years. Mrs. Montgomery sold the Stockman to John S. (Scotty) Moore of Ozona, owner of a competing paper, the Crockett County News, in April 1987. Moore continued to publish the paper, assisted by his wife, Linda, until 2004 when the paper was sold to Melissa and Paul C. Perner IV.

Through all these years, it has been an honor and a privilege to chronicle the history of Crockett County, its people and the students attending the local schools.

The Stockman enjoyed much success through the years, growing the paper with the support of subscribers, coupled with local retail and classified advertisers. The paper has won several awards in sweepstakes, general excellence, news and sports reporting, photography, advertising and special sections from the National Newspaper Association, Texas Press Association, South Texas Press Association and West Texas Press Association.

The newspaper industry in general has been in a slow decline for the past 20 years for varying reasons, including internet access, competition for classified and advertising dollars online, and the growth of social media.

Younger audiences especially have migrated to digital platforms as their source of news and information, and new subscriptions to the paper have slowed. The Stockman has explored many options in keeping the doors open. Ultimately, the cost of running a newspaper (printing and mailing costs, increases in prices for supplies, utilities, licenses, etc.) has surged far beyond the revenue brought in to support it.

We thank all our loyal advertisers and readers. You have sustained us and given us the faith we needed to continue delivering the news of this community each week.

We are so grateful to each of you for your faith in our work, and your continued support.

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