Sometimes you have to look back to look forward. You have to look at history to decipher the future.

Such was the case for The Newton Kansan this week. We have always held a set of ideals about what this publication is, and what the mission is. While we, like all newspapers, are a business, boiling down the mission to making money is hollow. That has never been the mission of the newsroom here. It has always been about serving our community.

We have done that, for 146 years. This week we entered our 147th year — specifically, we entered the 147th year of publication on Aug. 22. That is an awfully long time for an entity to exist. 

While taking a look at that number, we went back to take a look at Volume I, Edition I. That front page was full of news items — lots of election coverage. That front page also contained advertising, much like we do today.

That front page also contained the words of our first editor, Henry C. Ashbaugh. Not that it matters, but Henry C. Ashbaugh was a politically active Republican — a fact that cost him his second job as postmaster. He worked for a Republican newspaper, and that came with a price.

His words in that first edition read like a mission statement, namely because it was a statement of purpose. And the ideals he laid out are ones we still hold today. 

“The local paper organizes the people, unites them, rallies them to a common effort in all desirable directions as nothing else can. It tells you of new projects and designs, and numerous local necessities and transactions gathered together from thousands of sources all centered at one point — your home paper.”

And there was another powerful statement.

“Our mission among you is a plain one in terms, and we hope that we shall be found equal to the demands. The Kansan will in all respects be the people's paper, for Newton, For Harvey county, For Kansas and for general information. No pains which we can give will be spared to make it at least a first-class county newspaper.”

We strive for much of the same today. And as we eye our 150th birthday, we will keep striving for those things.

— Kansan Editorial Board