By:
March 2, 2021

Benny Polacca, the senior reporter at Osage News in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, covers tribal government and the tight-knit community of Osage Nation in the northeastern part of the state.

With a unique mandate serving some 1,200 subscribers, the newspaper has three full-time staff and has striven to adapt to a rapidly changing health environment, Polacca said. That means reporting remotely, but also going into the newsroom with the doors locked as needed.

I still came into the office to work because even though all of this was going on, the news business was still ongoing,” Polacca said. “We still had to report and do what we can to put out the newspaper.”

Listen to the oral history interview:

Read the transcript.

Here’s the front page of the Osage News from April 2020:

Here’s the front page of the Osage News from May 2020:

Here’s the front page from the Osage News from August 2020:

See more from The Essential Workers, an oral history project tracking the experiences of locally owned newspapers in Mid-America during the pandemic.

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Will Mari is an assistant professor of media law and media history at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. He studies…
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