Marion County Record publisher: First Amendment is alive and well

Advocacy, Awards,

Eric Meyer

Eric Meyer, publisher of the Marion County Record, said during the First Amendment Awards last month that the support his newspaper has received in the wake of a police raid on the newspaper’s offices is proof that the First Amendment is alive and well. 

The Marion County Record serves the 122th largest city in Kansas. 

“We're tiny,” Meyer said. “You know, you have to drive 30 minutes to get to a McDonald's. “If you want to eat after 7 o'clock, good luck.”

But the paper now has the 8th largest circulation in Kansas, all because people from around the world wanted to show their support for the newspaper in wake of the unlawful police search. 

The RTDNA Foundation selected mother and son Joan and Eric Meyer for the brave and defiant response after police seized computers, cell phones and more during a raid on the Marion County Record’s office and Joan Meyer’s home. Joan, the owner of the newspaper, died the next day at age 98. The newspaper was not silenced by the raid and continues in its watchdog reporting.

Joan and Eric Meyer were honored with the Citation of Courage at the First Amendment Awards last month at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. 

What stands out most to Eric Meyer about the support is that it is not limited by ideology. The support for the newspaper and, by extension, the First Amendment knows no party lines. 

“The public recognizes that there is something important about journalists doing their job and police and public officials not interfering with them,” Meyer said. “It attaches one of those fundamental tenets of American democracy, that right, left, or center, that politics aside, it's something that people will defend.

“That's what I take away as the advantage of this. And that's the award that I think we all need to share.”

Watch his full speech below.

(Photo: BP Miller / Chorus Photography)