The Whitley Republican was founded on March 12, 1908, when a group of Whitley County Republicans gathered in the office of Williamsburg Attorney J.N. Sharp to organize The Whitley County Publishing Company.
Those first founders of this corporation held eighteen shares of stock, which were issued to J.C. Bird, R.C. Browning, J.F. Coffey, Dr. F.W. Finley, H.P. Finley, C.H. Keeton, E.G. Massingale, W.L Moore and J. H. Sharp.
In 1922, Harold A. Browning, son of the founder R.C. Browning, bought the stock of M.M. Criscillis, who along with Charles Finley, and Dr. F.W. Finley took control of the company.
On July 4, 1943, the Brownings purchased the last of the stock and dissolved the corporation. Mr. Browning retired in 1957, and Mrs. Browning operated the business until Dec. 31, 1967.
In 1968, the newspaper was once again incorporated with Harold A. Browning, Jr. as president; Mrs. Bernice Browning Phelps, vice president; Frank A. Atkins, secretary; and Mrs. Bernice Bird Browning, treasurer.
The paper was finally sold outside the founding family in 1973, to Luke Keith, Jr., who was then the publisher of the Sentinel Echo of London. Keith sold the controlling interest in The Whitley Republican to Lexington businessman David M. Bondurant, who became publisher in May 1977. Bondurant, in turn, sold the newspaper in 1980, to Rachael Kamuf, who had been editor of the paper since 1975. She along with Tony Hill and Jim McKay became owners of the weekly newspaper. Kamuf was editor until the paper was sold again in July 1983 to Terry Forcht and Nelda Barton of the Whitley Whiz, Inc.
June A. Johnson was named publisher and editor in July 1983 and was publisher until Willie Sawyers was named general manager in 1984. Don Estep was hired as publisher in 1987 and became part-owner with Forcht and Barton. That same year, The Whitley Republican’s sister paper Corbin! This Week, was born.
In February 1991, The Whitley Republican and Corbin! This Week were combined as the News Journal. In 2002 Nelda Barton-Collings sold her stock to Terry Forcht and now the newspaper is owned by Terry Forcht and Don Estep and is part of the Forcht Group of Kentucky.
The News Journal is the largest circulated newspaper in Whitley County and is considered the legal paper of record. It is the third largest weekly newspaper in the state of Kentucky.