MPW.70 / 2018 Crystal Lyerla, The Face of Wright County News by Nigel Rumsey
Nigel Rumsey Gravesend, United Kingdom
Team Cliff & Vi

Recipient of the Team Cliff & Vi Award
Story Summary

In April of 2018, Crystal Lyerla agreed to leave her home in Perryville, Missouri, to become the publisher of the Mountain Grove News Journal. She spends the work week in Mountain Grove – running the newspaper, the local country music radio station, and another newspaper in a small town nearby. On the weekends, she returns to her husband and children, three hours away.

The Mountain Grove newspaper office is located on the town square, in a building dating back to the late 1800's. The building, originally a bank, is now the home to a newspaper archive stretching back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Beginning in 1882 as the News-Journal, the newspaper has had many names over the years, finally becoming the Mountain Grove News Journal in 1978.

Lyerla now manages three businesses – the Mountain Grove News Journal, the local country music radio station KELE 92.5 “The Grove,” and the Mansfield Mirror – all owned by Ozark Media. Her new position doesn't leave a lot of time for life beyond work. Crystal comes home during the week to an empty rented apartment and regularly works well into the evening.