The oldest existing business institution in Abilene is the Reporter Publishing Company, started by C.E. Gilbert. The first newspaper was printed on June 17, 1881, three months after the town was founded. Soon after Gilbert began publication, a fire destroyed several buildings in town, including his office. He rode the train to Baird (21 mi. E) and, using borrowed presses, published an "extra" edition about the blaze.
Two other Abilene papers were started in the 1880s. Part-time preacher W.L. Gibbs began the "Magnetic Quill" in 1882. Three years later Gilbert's printer, James L. Lowry, began the "Taylor County News." One of Lowry's early editions covered a duel between Gilbert and Gibbs, both of whom survived.
Later "Reporter" owners were Dr. Alf H.H. Toler, John Hoeny, Jr., George S. Anderson, and Marshall Bernard Hanks, a former delivery boy for the paper who was publisher from 1906 to 1948. In 1911 the "Reporter" bought the "News," resulting in the present name. Hanks and Houston Harte of San Angelo formed the Harte-Hanks Organization, now a national communications firm, which includes the "Reporter-News," whose motto is: "Without or with offense to friends or foes we sketch your world exactly as it does"—Byron