The Columbus Telegram
The Columbus Telegram (2021-03-19).svg
Columbus Telegram machines.JPG
Columbus Telegram vending machines
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Lee Enterprises
Founder(s)W. N. Hensley
PublisherCarrie Colburn
EditorMonica Garcia
FoundedFebruary 28, 1874 (1874-02-28), as the Columbus Era
Headquarters1254 27th Avenue
Columbus, Nebraska 68601
United States
OCLC number1002004395

The Columbus Telegram is a newspaper owned by Lee Enterprises and published in Columbus, in the east-central part of the state of Nebraska in the Midwestern United States. It is delivered on Tuesday through Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning.[1] Its circulation is 8,285.[2][3]


19th century

On February 28, 1874, W. N. Hensley founded the Columbus Era.[4][5] At that time, Columbus had two newspapers, the Journal and the Republican, both Republican in policy. Hensley, a young lawyer, was working for Dr. George Miller, publisher of the Omaha Herald and a leader in the Democratic Party, who advised him to start a Democratic newspaper in Columbus.[6]

The Era briefly ceased publication in November 1880; on April 9, 1881, it reappeared as the Columbus Democrat, managed by A. B. Coffroth and J. K. Coffroth.[5] In 1892, the name was changed to the Telegram.[7] In the early 1890s, D. Frank Davis attempted to publish the newspaper as a daily; however, Columbus was not large enough to support this, and the paper resumed weekly publication.[6]

Edgar Howard

In 1900, Edgar Howard bought the Telegram from J. L. Paschal, who had been elected state senator.[8] A lawyer and newspaperman, Howard was a strong Democrat. In 1883, he had purchased the Papillion Times in Papillion, Nebraska; in 1887, he had left the Times to go to Benkelman in southwestern Nebraska, where he founded the Dundy Democrat. In 1890, he had returned to Papillion and bought back the Times.[9] He had served a few months as William Jennings Bryan's private secretary in 1891;[10] in 1894, he was elected to a term in the Nebraska House of Representatives representing Sarpy County;[10][11] in 1896, he had resigned this seat to become probate judge of Sarpy County.[9] In 1900, he made an unsuccessful bid for a seat in Congress. In that same year, he sold the Times, moved to Columbus, and purchased the Telegram.[10] He remained its editor for over fifty years.[8]

In 1901, Howard incorporated the newspaper as the Telegram Company. In 1912, Zela H. Loomis, who had worked as a reporter and day editor for two Fremont, Nebraska newspapers,[12] became managing editor and city editor of the Telegram; in the following year, he became vice-president of the company.[13]

In 1922, the Telegram Company bought out the Columbus Daily News and ended publication of that title; the Telegram went from weekly to daily publication as the Columbus Daily Telegram.[6] In that year, Howard was elected to the United States House of Representatives.[11] He sold most of his stock to his associates in the company; however, at their request, he retained enough to allow him to remain president of the company and editor of the paper for the rest of his life.[8] Howard was re-elected to the House five times, serving from 1923 to 1935. In 1934, he lost the seat to Karl Stefan.[11]

After Howard

In 1940, Zela Loomis acquired a controlling interest in the Telegram Company and became editor-publisher of the newspaper.[13] After Howard's death in 1951, Loomis's name appeared at the top of the masthead as editor.[14] Zela Loomis died in 1957,[13] whereupon his widow Svea Loomis became president and associate editor,[15] and their son Laird Loomis general manager.[16]

In 1969, the Loomis family sold the newspaper to Freedom Newspapers, Inc.[17][18] Shortly after the transaction, the "Daily" was removed from the name, leaving it the Columbus Telegram.[19][20] In 1974, the newspaper made the conversion from letterpress to offset printing.[16]

The Omaha World-Herald Company bought the Telegram from Freedom Newspapers in September 1989.[21] At the same time, the World-Herald bought the Pawnee Scout shopper, which they merged with the Telegram.[16]

In 1998, the World-Herald sold the Telegram to Independent Media Group, Inc. (IMG). At the time of the sale, the paper's circulation was reported as 11,500.[22] IMG was sold to Lee Enterprises and to Liberty Group Publishing in 2000;[23] Lee acquired the Telegram,[24] whose circulation was again reported as 11,500; the circulation of the Scout Shopper was given as 13,000.[25]

The Telegram today

The publisher of the Telegram is Carrie Colburn, who also publishes the daily York News-Times and the weekly David City Banner-Press and Schuyler Sun. Colburn was appointed to the position in 2021.[26] The editor is Monica Garcia.[27]

The market area for the newspaper consists of 24,000 households in seven counties in east central Nebraska: Boone, Butler, Colfax, Merrick, Nance, Platte, and Polk. A weekly supplement, the Telegram Advantage, is delivered to both subscribers and non-subscribers.[1]


  1. ^ a b "About the Columbus Telegram". Columbus Telegram website. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  2. ^ "Daily Newspapers". Lee Enterprises. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  3. ^ "Search | Nebraska Press Association". Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  4. ^ "About Columbus era. [volume] (Columbus, Neb.) 1874-1880". Library of Congress. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b Cutler, William (1882). "Platte County: The Press". Andreas's History of the State of Nebraska. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  6. ^ a b c Curry, Margaret (1950a). "The Press". The History of Platte County, Nebraska. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  7. ^ Evans, Marion Reeder (1936). "80 Years of Progress" in 80 Years of Progress: Columbus, Nebraska 1856-1936. Published by The Art Printery at Columbus's 80th anniversary. p. 14.
  8. ^ a b c "Edgar Howard, One of State's Most Colorful Citizens, Dies". Columbus Daily Telegram. 1951-07-19. p. 1.
  9. ^ a b "Edgar Howard, 1858-1951".[Usurped!] Nebraska State Historical Society.[Usurped!] Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  10. ^ a b c "Howard, Edgar".[Usurped!] Nebraska State Historical Society.[Usurped!] Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  11. ^ a b c "Howard, Edgar (1858-1951)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  12. ^ Curry, Margaret (1950c). "Zela Hadley Loomis". The History of Platte County, Nebraska. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  13. ^ a b c "Zela H. Loomis, editor, publisher of Telegram dies; rites Wednesday". Columbus Daily Telegram. 1957-03-18. p. 1.
  14. ^ Masthead. Columbus Daily Telegram. 1957-03-18.
  15. ^ "Former Telegram publisher dead at 84, funeral Saturday". Columbus Telegram. 1976-09-09.
  16. ^ a b c O'Brien, Irene (1992). "Keep us in Touch on Paper and Airwaves". Columbus 1992: A Snapshot. p. 87.
  17. ^ Blum, Julie. "Former Telegram manager Laird Loomis dies at age 83". Columbus Telegram. 2005-06-15. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  18. ^ "Freedom Newspapers, Inc. buys Telegram Company; management remains local". Columbus Daily Telegram. 1969-11-01.
  19. ^ Nameplate. Columbus Daily Telegram. 1969-11-12.
  20. ^ Nameplate. Columbus Telegram. 1969-11-13.
  21. ^ "2 Freedom Papers Sold in Midwest". Los Angeles Times. 1989-08-23. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  22. ^ "Nebraska daily sold". Editor & Publisher. 1998-10-03. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  23. ^ "Management Buyout Leads to New Company". Archived 2011-07-10 at the Wayback Machine Dirks, Van Essen & Murray. 2004-01-01. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  24. ^ "Lee newspaper legacy reaches back to 1890" Archived 2012-08-04 at Lee Enterprises. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  25. ^ "Lee will buy 18 publications in Nebraska and Wisconsin". Lee Enterprises. 2000-04-07. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  26. ^ STAFF, SUN. "Colburn named publisher of Schuyler Sun". Columbus Telegram. Retrieved 2021-11-14.
  27. ^ Telegram, MONICA GARCIA The Columbus. "Hello, Columbus!". Columbus Telegram. Retrieved 2021-11-14.