With more than 200 newspapers represented in Missouri Press’ membership from every corner of the state, it is important that not only are different sizes of newspapers represented in the Association’s leadership but also the different communities they represent.
Missouri Press Association had four new members join the Board of Directors for 2022, including Marion Jordon, The Kansas City Globe; Lucas Presson, Southeast Missourian; Bryan Chester, Columbia Missourian; and Tim Schmidt, Montgomery Standard.
Directors are elected each year during the business meeting held as part of the Association’s annual convention and trade show. Nominations to serve on the board are accepted until July 1 and are then reviewed by a nominating committee for consideration by the entire MPA membership.
From being raised on a farm in Mississippi to owning multiple businesses in Kansas City, Marion Jordon is honored to be doing the work he does now, especially when he thinks about the generations that came before him. Jordon is owner and publisher of The Kansas City Globe, which he runs with his wife, Denise, who serves as managing editor.
The KC Globe was started in 1972, in response to Marion Jordon, a mortgage banker and real estate broker at the time, not feeling like other media in the greater Kansas City metro area were properly covering stories related to the Black community.
“We had a large contract that didn’t go well, and then we didn’t get our story told. There was some discrimination involved,” Jordon said. “I had always wanted a newspaper, so I went to my brother and told him that we should start our own, to get the truth out and better communicate for our community.”
Jordon describes the founding of the Globe as “somewhat of a protest and to tell our side of the story.”
“As we started looking around, we found other people in the community with stories that hadn’t been told, so we told their stories. We did profiles of people who had been ignored,” Jordon said. “Positive news would be the spin of our newspaper. We looked for features and news stories, histories, that sort of thing, and it took off from there.”
He added that by always trying to hire people smarter than them, the newspaper was able to flourish and give back to the community.
“My mother always said to me, Black business should try to contribute back to the community,” Jordon said. “I love people, and my favorite part about the newspaper is building relationships with people in the community. I believe part of the race problem is a lack of communication, and I think once people get to know one another, you find we’re more alike than different.”
Helping build relationships between communities is a challenge newspapers are not only tasked with themselves but also one they have to help other people overcome, Jordon said. Critical to that challenge is getting more young people involved in the profession and reading the newspaper so they are informed about their community.
“We need to challenge young people today, because if something is too easy, they don’t give their full attention to it,” Jordon said. “There’s so much out there now, you’ve got to give them a challenge and then reward them, otherwise they start slipping away.”
Jordon said he wants to use his time on the MPA Board of Directors to improve communication and relationships in order to strengthen the newspaper profession, which in turn helps each member’s communities.
“I hope to continue to improve on communication and build a better relationship between the Black community and the white community,” Jordon said. “I feel so honored to think about where I came from in Mississippi, about my uncle fighting in World War I, about my great-great-granddaddy who was a slave, to today and doing what I can to help improve things.
“We can reach out to leaders in government, in our communities, in corporations and show them how our business is about building a better way for people to work together,” Jordon said.
While Jordon has a passion for his newspaper, he considers himself a workaholic and keeps busy with other ventures, including a farm in Knob Noster.
“Since my dad owned a farm, I learned how to plant corn and cotton, and I told myself as soon as I got enough money and was able to buy a farm, I would. And I did, and I raised soybeans and corn. Then I did a survey in order to get more yield out of the ground, and that led to me deciding to grow popcorn,” Jordon said.
Growing popcorn led to the creation of Jordon Foods, which produces several items for sale online and in eight states, as well as at all of the KC-area grocery stores. The chief product is George Washington’s Favorite Popcorn, named for Jordon’s father.
Jordon Foods also sells Margaret’s Homemade Apple Butter, named after Jordon’s mother and which uses her own family recipe. Coffee, cooking oil and popcorn seasoning round out the company’s offerings.
“I love being a farmer, planting soybeans and corn, and it’s been a great support for the newspaper, and the newspaper has been great for supporting the foods business,” Jordon said.