The Grand Island Independent is a newspaper published in Grand Island, Nebraska. The Independent is published every day of the year but Christmas Day.[3] Its daily circulation is 20,500[4] in eleven counties of central Nebraska.[6] The newspaper is owned by the Omaha World-Herald Co.[4]


In 1869, Maggie Eberhart and Seth Mobley founded the Platte Valley Independent in North Platte. Eberhart, whose parents had immigrated from Ireland in her infancy, had been a teacher;[8] Mobley had begun working in a newspaper office in Iowa at the age of 10, and had briefly published the Fort Kearney Herald while stationed at Fort Kearny, Nebraska in 1865.[10] In 1870, Eberhart moved the Independent to Grand Island; she married Mobley the following year. The newspaper, described as "decidedly Republican", was published daily for a short time in late 1873, in connexion with a political campaign of that year, but resumed weekly publication after the election.[12]

In 1883, the Mobleys, who had alienated most of their advertisers, sold the newspaper to J. A. McMurphy; a week later, McMurphy sold it to Friedrich (Fred) Hedde.[13] Hedde had been a solicitor and journalist in his native Holstein.[14] After immigrating to the United States in 1854,[15] he had been one of the original settlers of Grand Island in 1857.[14] He had served as County Judge and as a member of the Nebraska Territorial Legislature.[15] Beside the Independent, he owned a lumberyard and a general store.[3] Hedde converted the Independent from a weekly to a daily in 1884;[14] in 1885, he changed its name to the Grand Island Daily Independent.[17]

In 1900, the octogenarian Hedde's health was failing, prompting him to turn the newspaper over to a group of Grand Island businessmen,[13] who formed the Independent Publishing Company. A. F. Buechler served as president of the company and editor of the newspaper until 1930,[19] when it was sold to Oscar S. Stauffer; he continued as editor until 1939.[19]

Stauffer Communications owned the Independent from 1930 to 1994.[17] In 1974, the newspaper made the conversion from letterpress to offset printing. In 1979, it began printing a Sunday edition, initiating seven-day publication.[20] In 1989, the "Daily" was dropped, leaving the newspaper with its present name.

The newspaper was acquired by the Morris Publishing Group in the course of their 1995 purchase of Stauffer.[22] It introduced its website in 1996.[20] In 2007, the Independent was bought by GateHouse Media.[17] in 2008, GateHouse sold the newspaper to its present owner, the Omaha World-Herald Co.[4]

The Independent today

The publisher of the Independent is Don Smith;[3] Before his appointment to the position in 2003, he had served as publisher of the Morris-owned Juneau Empire.[3] The managing editor is Jim Faddis; he had worked for the Independent for 25 years before being promoted from editorial page editor to managing editor in 2007.[3]

Beside the daily newspaper, the Independent publishes a free-circulation weekly titled Trade West, with a circulation of about 20,000, focusing on "rural and agricultural readers".[3]