On any given morning in Newton or McPherson, a church representative might find a message or phone call from a company called Keister-Williams. The message asks for the representative to call back, to preserve their listing in the local newspaper.
Some panic a bit, there's not money in the budget to buy an advertisement. Some have called the newspaper office asking if it is a scam.
It's real — but it does not affect the printed church listing.
"They are an outside contracted company that is selling sponsorships of our church pages," said Randy Mitchell, publisher of the Newton Kansan and McPherson Sentinel. "We are going to add a new online component. Keister-Williams is trying to sell churches a display ad on the online church pages."
Purchasing, or not purchasing, an advertisement on the webpage will not affect the current free listings in the print edition.
Newton and McPherson are the first two newspapers in the central Kansas group of papers owned by GateHouse Media to be a part of the project. Other papers could follow suit later this year.