DATE OF EVENT: Saturday, Sept. 18, 1880
DATE PUBLISHED: Saturday, Sept. 18, 1880, in The Kansas City Star
Editor’s note: The Kansas City Evening Star, later to become The Kansas City Star, made its debut Sept. 18, 1880.
Here it introduces itself, presenting the arguments for an afternoon newspaper that would become an enduring Kansas City institution.
The front page of that first issue covered the opening of the Kansas City Exposition; a runaway buggy; the prices of various supplies, including apples, tallow, hides and hay, and a column called “additional city news,” which included the item: “Thieves, pickpockets, confidence men, burglars, prostitutes, hotel women, blackguards, sneaks, etc., have poured into the city in the last few days in a stream, and for the solid week, as usual during the fall, there will be any number of burglaries and other crimes to chronicle.”
In 1901, founder William Rockhill Nelson would buy The Kansas City Times, giving The Star control of an Associated Press franchise and a two-newspaper, 24-hour news cycle.
Among the most successful products of recent journalism in the United States is the cheap afternoon newspaper: Experience has demonstrated that the great morning journalism printed in our large cities, admirable and enterprising as they are, do not meet the wants of the great masses of the people. Their broad pages, filled with elaborated details of all news matters, with lengthy ponderous editorials, with long prosy sermons and other matter of the same class, which occupy a large amount of space, and demand much time for their perusal, while they make these journals invaluable to many, at the same time render them unattractive to the great majority of dwellers in cities. The hour at which they are published, and the price at which they are furnished, combine to deter thousands from taking them who, however, feel the need of a daily newspaper of some kind. They have neither the time nor the inclination to read these large papers, nor do they feel that they can afford to pay for them. But some kind of a daily newspaper has become in our modern civilization, a necessity to every intelligent person, who desires to keep posted as to the current events of the day with the minimum expenditure of time and money. To meet this want the cheap afternoon journal was devised, and the unqualified success which all well managed enterprises of this class have achieved, whenever they have had a proper field, proves beyond cavil the existence of a demand for them. In almost every city and large town in the country cheap afternoon newspapers are printed, which enjoy very large circulation and profitable advertising patronage. New York, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Toledo, Peoria, Minneapolis, San Francisco and many other American cities … contain able, prosperous journals. …
Given a proper field, and a cheap afternoon newspaper founded on a substantial basis, is absolutely certain to succeed if it has good management.
The publishers of The Evening Star, after a careful survey of the country, came to the conclusion that Kansas City offers as inviting a field for an enterprise of this character as any city in the United States. At the present time, Kansas City is large enough and partakes sufficiently of a metropolitan character to render a first-class, cheap afternoon newspaper an absolute necessity. In addition, however, it is the commercial center of the great Missouri valley, and no city in the country contains within itself greater possibilities, or offers brighter prospects for the future. No city in the land is growing more rapidly, or attracting more attention from all quarters. It is universally conceded that Kansas City, in a very few years, will be one of the largest and most important cities in America. Having entire confidence in the future of this city, The Evening Star enters the field, without a doubt in the minds of the proprietors that it will achieve unqualified success, and in a very short time become one of the recognized institutions of Kansas City. …