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'This is still a print town.' New Oxford Free Press to debut this summer

man holding newspaper
Roman Kraft

When the Journal-News finally pulled the plug on what was left of the Oxford Press — a weekly insert titled The Oxford Page — earlier this year, a group of journalism professionals decided to take matters into their own hands. They're preparing to launch a weekly printed newspaper in the coming months under the masthead the Oxford Free Press.

"This is still a print town," says Richard Campbell, professor emeritus from the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Miami University.

"I think a community newspaper is an anchor in a community," Campbell says. "It's where people can find out what's going on, and it gives everybody of a basis of, 'OK, here's what happened, reporters have documented this, they've covered these stories,' and start with that kind of general knowledge base in the community."

He adds, "When you have no reporters in these communities reporting on local government, reporting on the police, reporting on medical conditions in a community, that work is just not getting done and people aren't being informed."

Campbell and several others are working to get the newspaper up and running. They recently announced 2024 Miami University graduate and outgoing editor of The Miami Student, Sean Scott, will be the paper's founding editor. Scott double majored in journalism and urban and regional planning and earned a certificate in geographic information science.

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Scott also reported on the Oxford community for The Miami Student, so he says he already has a good feel for the town.

"Early on at (The Miami Student), I became the beat reporter for Oxford City Council. The position made me appreciate the relationship between Miami and Oxford and how it impacts students and residents," he says in a statement. "As editor-in-chief, I increased our overall coverage of Oxford to help community members stay informed. When the opportunity to be a part of the solution to news deserts in Oxford came up, it was the perfect blend of my majors and experience at Miami."

man in NASA t-shirt sits in front of computers. there's a stuffed koala behind him, too, mate.
Miami University
Sean Scott in the newsroom at The Miami Student.

Campbell expects the first prototype, a 12-16 page edition, will be out in July. It's uncertain yet on which day of the week the paper will publish. The paper will be printed in Indianapolis by the same company that prints The Miami Student. There will also be a website.

The paper will employ an intern and a designer. Other community members will write for it as well. Campbell says they have some funding from the Oxford Community Foundation and other foundations, and intend to sell sponsorships and advertising.

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Of course, he adds, there won't be a charge to read it.

"It's called the Oxford Free Press," he says with emphasis. "The 'free' has two meanings there. It's free, and its ... for press (freedom)."

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.