Reporter (The)


Reporter (The)


The Reporter newspaper was first published on April 9, 1904 in Mt. Sterling, KY, by brothers John D. Magowan and Noah W. Magowan. It was the first newspaper owned and operated by African Americans in the city of Mt. Sterling. The paper was recognized as a strong voice for the Negro in Kentucky, and in 1907 when the Negro Press Association, Kentucky was formed with 14 members, N. W. Magowan was named president.

The newspaper had been established in April of 1904 as a weekly publication with Noah W. Magowan as editor, Reverend W. H. Brown and Reverend J. W. Smith associate editors, and John D. Magowan as manager. In January of 1908, as president of the Negro Press Association, Kentucky, N. W. Magowan made a call to all Negro press members in Kentucky to meet at the Kentucky Standard newspaper office in Louisville to discuss the political situation in the state, in reference to the presidential election and the selection of Negro delegates to the National Republican Convention.

In March of 1908, The Reporter ran an editorial against William H. Taft, from Cincinnati, OH, who was campaigning to become President of the United States. The editorial was described by fellow Negro editor, W. D. Johnson of the Lexington Standard, as "unmanly, unkind, and intended to rouse race feelings against Mr. Taft." Not only did the two editors disagree about Taft, but Magowan and Johnson were two of several Negro candidates for delegate-at-large to the Republican Convention.

During the election, J. D. Magowan was an election officer in Mt. Sterling. When Taft became President in 1909, W. D. Johnson was rewarded for his loyalty: he was assigned to the General Land Office in Washington, D.C. Just prior to his appointment, N. W. Magowan, who had been against Taft as a presidential candidate, wrote an editorial in the Lexington Leader proclaiming W. D. Johnson's support of Taft was a forward-thinking decision, and he championed Johnson's right to a political reward for his loyalty.

Magowan's good words about Johnson in the Lexington Leader were not an indication that the Reporter had changed its mission; in 1909, a letter from Berea College President William G. Frost was published in The Reporter in response to the argument presented by Rev. Morris of the Centenary Methodist Church of Lexington, who had said "the old Berea College ought to have been turned over to the Negroes." N. W. Magowan had been among the Berea graduates who attended the 1908 meeting at Berea College, hoping to adopt resolutions that would give Negroes the opportunity to help establish a new colored college if the Supreme Court did not set aside the Day Law.

In 1910, N. W. Magowan left The Reporter newspaper to become a clerk for the Census Bureau, having received his appointment in April of 1910. W. D. Johnson had left the Lexington Standard newspaper and moved to Washington, D.C., and N. W. Magowan and his wife were regular guests at the Johnson home. The Reporter continued to be managed by J. D. Magowan until his death in 1913. His brother remained in Washington, D.C. N. W. Magowan was a member of the Committee on Ways and Means of the National Emancipation Commemorative Society. By 1920, he was employed as a clerk at the post office and was elected president of the Post Office Relief Association. N. W. Magowan, his wife Mary, their son Paul (1911-1984), and a boarder all lived on Q Street.


N.W. Magowan, J.D. Magowan





SeeĀ Notable Kentucky African Americans Database for more on the Magowan Brothers and The Reporter.
Full list of African American newspapers in Kentucky available in the Notable Kentucky African Americans (NKAA) Database.


Kentucky, Montgomery, Mt. Sterling


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“Reporter (The),” KDNP Feature Library, accessed April 15, 2024,

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