At midday Wednesday, television crews were setting up for live broadcasts outside the Marion County Record’s office in Marion, Kansas; phones were ringing off the hook; and the paper’s owner, Eric Meyer was on a carousel of interviews about the police raid on their offices five days earlier.
In the back room, surrounded by old typesetting equipment and a long defunct printing press, it was relatively calm and orderly. The paper’s two-woman delivery team, Barb Creamer and Bev Baldwin, both retirees in their 70s, loaded up copies of the latest weekly edition—the first since police seized the newsroom’s computers, file servers, and reporters’ personal cellphones, triggering a national debate about press freedom in the United States.
The Marion County Record’s four-person newsroom worked until 5 a.m. Wednesday to get the paper to the printer. The team took turns using the computer of the part-time sports reporter and photographer, and several other devices that police did not seize. “I didn’t know what an all-nighter really was,” said staff reporter Phyllis Zorn, 63, who wrote five stories despite her phone and computer being in police custody.