Charles K. Cooper, founder of the Penn Franklin News, began the newspaper in his home in Level Green, when he published the first issue on Thursday, February 6, 1947. He was almost a one man operation in those early days, selling the advertisements on Monday, gathering news on Tuesday, putting it all together on Wednesday, and printing it on Thursday. His staff, primarily his wife, Maxine Smith Cooper, and other family members, folded and addressed everything by hand.
In the mid 1950’s, he moved his home and print shop to Murrysville. The circulation increased, and in addition to the Penn-Franklin News, the operation expanded to include the Delmont Salem News and Penn Trafford News. Later he added an advertising circular, The Market Place.
In 1960, he was one of the first publishers in the Western Pennsylvania area to change from letter press to offset printing. He also changed his location within Murrysville, finally settling in 1968 at the present site on Old William Penn Highway.
Mr. Cooper believed and told his readers in the 1947 first issue, “a good newspaper is the backbone of a community.” His attitude of openness and fairness in the publication of all news and opinions produced an informed readership.
The family continues to be the main force behind the paper, with daughters Georgia Cooper Boring as the managing editor and Charlene Cooper Word as the advertising manager. Production manager is son-in-law Wade Boring and grandsons Charles Graham Boring, assistant editor, and David Kenneth Boring, circulation manager, also work for the paper. All five of Mr. Cooper’s grandchildren have worked for the newspaper in some capacity or another at some point in time.
In his first issue, Mr. Cooper wrote the following editorial, explaining his philosophy on the role of a newspaper in the community. This philosophy is one that we strive to maintain today, 65 years after it was created.
Greetings From Your Editor
from the first issue of The Penn Franklin News
We are starting the Penn-Franklyn News because we feel there is a need for it. We feel we shall render a serve to the community that is now lacking, or poorly supplied. A good newspaper is the backbone of a community. It lets neighbors know what each other is doing, planning and thinking. We hope to be that kind of a newspaper.
At present, because of the high cost of newsprint and the distances between readers and the higher cost of gathering news and distributing copies, we are forced to ask ten cents per copy, $2.00 per year for a subscription. We are sure that our readers will understand this situation, and believe that this rate is fair and reasonable.
While we are talking about money, let me state that money-making is not the reason for starting this newspaper. While we intend that this paper should pay its own way, should render a fair compensation to the Editor and his correspondents, we do not expect anyone to get rich from it.
If anyone does make a lot of money from the Penn-Franklyn News, it will be our advertisers. That will be because you will buy the things they advertise here.
In politics we shall be independent, but not neutral. We do not intend to get mixed up in factional squabbles. But on the important issues of the day, we shall be in there fighting for the side we feel is right.
In religion we are tolerant. We are little about a man’s creed, but, in all things we will be guided by the doctrines of the great Teacher of Nazareth.
We do not intend to publish a scandal sheet or go in for the sensational. Yet, we will not hesitate to print the news as we see it.
We shall make some enemies. The only way to keep from making enemies is to do nothing. We expect to do things. Everyone will not like everything we do.
We shall make friends, lots of friends. We want you to be our friend, and this paper to be your paper. Send us your news items. We do not charge for printing them.
With kindest wishes, Charles K. Cooper