The Leader-Vindicator is a weekly newspaper, printed on Wednesdays with a circulation of approximately 4,000. It is centered in New Bethlehem and covers southern Clarion County and northern Armstrong County.
Its principal office is at P.O. Box 158, 435 Broad Street, New Bethlehem, PA 16242, telephone (814) 275-3131, fax (814) 275-3531, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
In the age of multi-national news corporations, very few communities the size of New Bethlehem can still boast of having their own local newspapers.
New Bethlehem residents have actually been able to make that claim for the past 130 years.
The earliest attempt at founding a newspaper in New Bethlehem came in 1873. Victor A. Haines, using a Washington Press, founded the first publication in the community. Little is known about this newspaper aside from a brief mention of it in an 1873 history written by Dr. Hilton Wick.
That first newspaper must not have lasted very long as John Shick came to New Bethlehem from Indiana in 1885 to launch a newspaper in the growing community. He located his office on the second floor of the former Williams' Drug Store, which later became the Reinsel's Drugs building.
After a few years, Shick sold his business to J.C. Rairigh of Brockwayville, now Brockway. Rairigh became the publisher of the New Bethlehem Vindicator by 1888.
Around the turn of the century, Rairigh built a home and business building along Lafayette Street where the Vindicator was published until 1929. The building later became the Mateer Funeral Home and is now a private residence. Rairigh retired from the newspaper business in 1908 and sold the business to Harry A. Reed of Sligo. Having served as publisher of a small mail order magazine in Sligo, "The Stars and Stripes," Reed stayed with the Vindicator for only a short time.
The newspaper was again sold, this time to Walter A. Scott from Burgettstown. He launched a small semi-weekly but soon sold the paper to W. Ed Himes, who returned the paper to its weekly format in 1911.
Himes led the newspaper until Jan. 1, 1929 when he sold the printing and publishing business to L.O. Hepler, the publisher of the New Bethlehem Leader, which was founded in 1892.
The Leader began publication when George L. Miller moved his printing equipment from Big Run to New Bethlehem and took H.S. McDowell as a partner.
Miller eventually bought out his partner and sold the business to S.C. Hepler, father of L.O. Hepler, on Oct. 1, 1902. L.O. Hepler became publisher in 1908.
The Leader's office was located in the basement rooms of what is now the Vince Dougherty Building at the corner of Broad and Wood streets. The office was moved when L.O. Hepler built the current Broad Street location in 1923. The two newspapers were consolidated in 1929 and renamed The Leader-Vindicator.
Hepler continued as publisher until June 1, 1947, when he sold the business to Tom T. Andrews Jr. Andrews purchased the Broad Street lot along with the business and made improvements to the building in 1953. A concrete block, single-story structure was built on to the rear of the offices. Also in 1953, Andrews purchased three weekly newspapers from Ross B. Atchison of Rimersburg -The East Brady Review, Parker
Phoenix and The Rimersburg Record. The three papers were combined into one publication, The Record. That publication was later merged with The Leader-Vindicator. Andrews continued as publisher of The L-V and as co-publisher when James Shaffer became the owner in 1985. Andrews died in 1996.
In 1998, Shaffer sold the local business to McLean Publishing Co., a Philadelphia-based firm which also currently owned Brookville's Jeffersonian Democrat and the Courier-Express and Tri-County Sunday based in DuBois.
In 2013, Community Media Group purchased all four papers.