Small-Town Newspaper Covered Dixie’s Crime And Now The Book
Small town newspapers know the pulse of their communities inside and out. Over in western #Iowa, The #Harlan Newspapers have a rich tradition for exhibiting excellence in small-town journalism.
The paper’s history dates back to 1870. The Harlan Newspapers are the fifth largest twice weekly newspaper in Iowa. Harlan’s journalists have won more than 250 state and national awards, as noted proudly on the newspaper’s website. Simply put, the Harlan Newspapers personify the very best in quality, community journalism. The editorial department is led by veteran managing editor Bob Bjoin.
True to form, The Harlan Newspapers published a wonderful news write-up about my new truecrime feature-length #book, DIXIE’S LAST STAND: Was It Murder Or Self-Defense? (Click here to read the articles)
The article informed readers how I wound up covering the gruesome and highly unusual murder case during my first day on the job at my former newspaper in Omaha, Nebraska way back in 2003.
For me, it was extremely gratifying to see that Thursday’s front-page article in the Harlan Newspapers was highly complimentary to DIXIE’S LAST STAND. The newspaper’s readers were encouraged to buy the book on Kindle right away. They were also alerted that DIXIE will be released in paperback come April. (Read more about DIXIE’S LAST STAND here.)
The Harlan Newspapers informed local readers that my original purpose for writing this book was to compliment and draw attention to the excellent small-town police work, led by long-time Shelby County Sheriff Gene Cavenaugh and his long-time chief deputy Mark Hervey, who is now the sheriff.
For true-crime readers not necessarily familiar with the geography of Iowa, Harlan is a vibrant and successful small city of more than 5,000. It’s about 10 miles up the road from Interstate 80, between Des Moines, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska.
Harlan also happens to be the county seat of Shelby County, a county of about 13,000 residents in mostly rural western Iowa. Since the Dixie Shanahan murder case transpired in the tiny town of Defiance, all of the court proceedings took place in downtown Harlan at the historic Shelby County Courthouse. As often happens in a small town, it seemed like most everybody around Harlan and Shelby County had interactions with either Dixie or Scott Shanahan.
I can’t stress how helpful Bob Bjoin and The Harlan Newspapers were as I finished up the legwork on the manuscript for DIXIE’S LAST STAND. The Harlan Newspapers’ help was singled out by me in the Acknowledgements section of my book.
Managing editor Bob Bjoin and other members of the staff dropped whatever news stories they were writing and tracked down critical photos to use to republish for DIXIE’S LAST STAND. Among the key examples, the photo of Sheriff Gene Cavenaugh and chief deputy Mark Hervey. I also republished the Harlan paper’s magnificent photo showing the exterior of the limestone courthouse where Dixie’s famous murder trial was held in downtown Harlan.