COPPERAS COVE — The former publishers of one of Cove’s two newspapers launched a third newspaper — The Cove Banner.
The first issue of The Cove Banner, a weekly tabloid-sized paper published by Larry and Joyce Hauk, hit the streets here Friday morning. The paper also launched a website.
The Cove Banner joins the Copperas Cove Leader-Press and the Copperas Cove Herald in competing for readers in this town of 33,000 residents.
The Leader-Press publishes on Tuesday and Friday. The Banner, like the Herald, publishes on Friday.
The Banner launched with 1,800 copies Friday, Larry Hauk said. Copies of the newspaper will be free for the first two weeks.
The Hauks were co-publishers of the Copperas Cove Leader-Press from 2001-2013 before leaving in what Larry Hauk called “a contentious split” with the management of Copperas Cove Newspapers Inc., the company that owns the newspaper.
In addition to the Hauks, the Cove Banner staff includes columnist John Clark, a former reporter with the Temple Daily Telegram who teaches reading and English at S.C. Lee Junior High School in Cove.
Two prominent Cove residents weighed in on whether there is room for three papers in town.
“I don’t think so,” said Marty Smith, a member of the Cove City Council and the Coryell County Economic Development Board. “People are more on the Internet for their news. I don’t think there is a need for a third newspaper here.”
“I’d like to think there is room for three newspapers,” said Fred Chavez, director of the planetarium at the Mayborn Science Theater and a member of the county EDB.
“Given the market situation, unless (the Cove Banner) finds a niche, I don’t think they can make a go of it. It is going to be tough,” Chavez said.
The Herald and Leader-Press said they are up for the new competition.
“The Copperas Cove Leader-Press will continue to share the stories of Copperas Cove with the community and market the businesses within our pages,” said Travis Martin, the paper’s advertising director and designer.
“From time to time, different people are given responsibility of managing the community’s newspaper, but the Leader-Press is a community-driven newspaper. Ultimately, the community owns the paper,” Martin said.
“Starting a newspaper is a huge undertaking, so I wish the new publisher the best of luck,” said Kristi Parker Johnson, metro editor for the Killeen Daily Herald, which publishes the Cove Herald.
“While Cove is a relatively small market, I believe the Cove Herald does an excellent job of covering the community news, and a third newspaper will not impact our ability to do so,” Johnson said.
Larry Hauk had his own answer for whether Cove has room for three newspapers.
“There is always room at the top,” he said.