By Erin Grace
Flatwater Free Press 

End of an era Longtime publisher ready to close book on Omaha's alternative newspaper


September 14, 2023

Courtesy photo | Lori Umstead

Final edition • The staff of The Reader, Omaha's longtime alternative newspaper, pose for a photo ahead of its final issue. Back row, from left: Karlha Velásquez, Bridget Fogarty and Tylonda Sanders. In front: Lynn Sanchez, Chris Bowling and John Heaston.

John Heaston opens the door to a brick warehouse next to Johnny's Cafe in South Omaha and walks through rooms holding his life's work.

"It's kind of a hot mess," says the 52-year-old longtime publisher of Omaha's alternative newspaper, "The Reader."

Here's a garage bay holding empty green newspaper boxes emblazoned with the word, "FREE." Here are floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with yellowing copies of "The Reader" and "El Perico," a separate publication that Heaston owns.

Sticky notes scribbled with years like 1998, 2012 and 2016 aim to bring some order to the chaos of the last three dec...

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