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History of The Kentucky Standard

By Dixie Hibbs - Local Historian

A tack placed under a thin pad of a chair played a major role in the origin of The Kentucky Standard more than a century ago.

It seems that Jack Wilson and Ernie Coyle, two typesetters at the Nelson County Record, had their differences. One day Wilson came to work and sat down to compose copy for the paper. He quickly arose with a yell and strong language. He went to the publisher, Henry Bacon, and told him if this happened again he would "...leave and start another newspaper."

It did, and he did.

Wilson first began The Bardstown Observer in April of 1900. He discontinued this paper and The Kentucky Standard was born with the first issue printed on December 15, 1900. The six-page paper was produced on Thursday by Wilson and R.S. Haskell of Louisville.

Early in 1901 Wallace Brown, circuit clerk, bought the paper and served as president and business manager. Wilson continued as editor, he had been engaged in the newspaper business for 25 years and was known by most all of the people in Nelson County. This proved to be quite a benefit to the new paper.

The front page stories of earliest issues were historic accounts submitted by local writers such as Dr. A.H. Merrifield, John D. Wickliffe, and the Rev. John Cunningham.

Unlike today, local news and statewide political news was usually found on the inside pages of the paper.

The small communities such as Solitude, Botland, Howards Town, Woodlawn, Lenore, Green's Chapel, and Wimpsatt, all had correspondents who faithfully reported who was sick, visiting, and what prices a farmer got for his lambs, pigs, or tobacco.

Alfred S. Wathen, who began working at The Standard when he was a boy, was 21-years-old when he bought his first few shares of stock in 1909. By 1919 he had controlling interest.

For the next 40 years Wathen was the publisher of The Kentucky Standard. at his death in 1958, his sons, Alfred Wathen Jr. and B.J. Wathen, and his daughter Elizabeth Spalding continued to produce the paper until 1979 when it was sold to Scripps Howard. Eight years later, in April of 1987, The Standard was again sold to Landmark Community Newspapers, Inc. and remains today an LCNI publication.

The once weekly paper of local interest columns and advertisements of the early 1900s has today become a tri-weekly publishing on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday -- and operates a local cable channel, three internet websites, and a real estate classified magazine, all under the name Standard Communications.



Forrest Berkshire, Editor | editor@kystandard.com | 502.348.9003 Ext 117

As editor of The Kentucky Standard, Forrest is in charge of the newsroom. He also serves on the Standard's editorial board, which determines and writes the newspaper's official stances on issues on the Opinion Page in the editorial section.

The newsroom is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper, including articles and photos by the reporters, collecting and processing submitted news from the community, publishing obituaries, putting together the pages before printing, managing news content on the website and managinf the Standard's social media.

Forrest joined the Standard's newsroom in July 2012, after taking a break from journalism. Before joining the Standard, he worked as the speech writer for the commanding general for Fort Knox. Prior to speech writing, he worked as a writer, photographer and public affairs specialist for Army ROTC for five years. He began his journalism career in 2001 at the Roane County (Tenn.) News. From Tennessee, he moved to Elizabethtown, where he worked at The News-Enterprise first as a reporter and later as a full-time photojournalist. 

A 2001 graduate of Northern Kentucky University with a degree in journalism, Forrest is marred to Sarah Berkshire, features editor for The News-Entperprise. Together they have two boys.

A recipient of numerous awards for his journalism work over the years, Forrest most recently was awarded first place in the 2012 Kentucky Press Association Excellence in Journalism contest for his feature photography, a second place for his sports photogrpahy and an honorable mention for editorial writing.

Randy Patrick, Reporter | rpatrick@kystandard.com | 502.348.9003 Ext 114

Randy Patrick joined The Kentucky Standard in August 2012 as a reporter and photographer.

He is the Standard's lead reporter for state, Nelson County and Bardstown City government, as well as religion and other subjects.

Patrick is beginning his 30th year in community journalism. A 1983 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, he worked as an editor or a reporter for weeklies in Paris, Irvine, Mount Sterling, Clay City, Corbin and Nicholasville, and dailies in Richmond and Winchester, his hometown. He also worked briefly for Transylvania University and as a temporary state government reporter for the Associated Press in 2012.

Patrick enjoys living in Bardstown’s historic district, learning about Nelson County’s unique history, exploring its back roads and hiking at the Abbey of Gethsemani.

He is a member of Apostles Anglican Church in Lexington and a longtime volunteer for Habitat for Humanity at home and abroad.

In 2012 he also picked up a couple of first-place awards at the state press association convention in Louisville Jan. 25, when the Standard newsroom won the General Excellence prize for multi-weeklies.

Susan Turner, Presentation Editor

Susan joined the Standard in September 2012.

As presentation editor, Susan puts the words and photos of the paper onto the pages. As the lead for production, she is also responsible for the publication's overall look and feel.

 Turner was born and grew up  in Elizabethtown and graduated from Elizabethtown High School in 2005. She went on to graduate from Western Kentucky University with a degree in journalism.

She started as an intern at The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown in 2007 and worked part time and weekends until being hired full time upon completing her degree in 2008.

While at The News-Enterprise, Turner designed news pages and also took on several other projects, including design and layout of special sections; writing columns, enterprise stories and breaking news when needed; and coordinating with photographers and reporters to create multimedia projects and feature packages.

After that, she went on to assist in the production of an informative section about the prevalence of methamphetamine in the region and to design an award-winning news series about military veterans spanning from World War II to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Turner and her husband recently welcomed their first child. In her free time, Turner enjoys reading and outings with family and friends.

Turner has won several Kentucky Press Association awards, including a first place award for best news graphic and second place awards for front-page design. She also has been credited with designing periodical publications distributed by The News-Enterprise.