Uranus Examiner Returns, Local Missouri Publication Resumes Printing

Natalie SandersUranus Examiner, used with permission.

The Uranus Examiner, a small-town Missouri newspaper that had to close because no businesses in the community wanted to sell it — or advertise in it — because of its cheeky name, is back, the publishers report in a Facebook post.

Uranus, Missouri isn’t actually an incorporated town in Missouri. Rather, it’s more like a tourist attraction — a cluster of buildings around a parking lot, done up to look like a Wild West town. Located about 150 miles west of St. Louis, the “town” has a candy store (“The best fudge comes from Uranus!”), an indoor axe-throwing facility (The Uranus Axehole), a restaurant, gift shops, and more.

Around “town,” wordplay based on Uranus rules the day. Where there’s construction, a sign reminds visitors that “Uranus is expanding.” When “Mayor” Louie Keen appeared on a local radio show, he offered listeners the chance to win an “Explore Uranus” package. And when Pulaski County’s only newspaper, The Waynesville Daily Guide, folded, Keen decided that The Uranus Examiner would fill the void.

It may be the world’s only tourist attraction based on a pun, but that doesn’t mean the attraction’s owners don’t have a serious side. Back in 2018, The Uranus Examiner managing editor Natalie Sanders told The Springfield News-Leader that their publication would be a “serious” newspaper, one with a circulation of about 15,000.

Unfortunately, what with Pulaski County being a rather conservative place, The Uranus Examiner had a hard time getting off the ground. In a December of 2018 Facebook post, the paper’s owners and editors point out that businesses in the conservative towns which surround Uranus weren’t keen on selling the paper due to its controversial name — and advertisers were wary to buy ad space.

“They were afraid of the backlash of the Fuddy Duddy Patrol if they put an ad in our paper… I know of a few businesses that had idiots call them and complain about them advertising in our paper,” Keen wrote in a column, “The View From Uranus.”

Keen suggested that the fact that he also owned a strip club may have doomed his paper, as well.

Now, however, The Uranus Examiner is back — and with a new focus. Rather than being a straightforward news publication, the paper will be “Onionesque” — referencing the satirical newspaper The Onion— and will focus solely on Uranus.

“Guess what folks? The Uranus Examiner is back! And we’re probing Uranus deeper than ever before.”

This time, the paper will be exclusively sold in Uranus, at $1.99 per copy — or free with a $20 purchase. The newspaper also has a website, one which is down as of this writing. However, plans exist to upgrade the website, with editors aiming to ensure that the digital edition is in keeping with the focus of the paper’s print edition.