Isaiah Buse standing in lobby of the Houston Herald newspaper

Alumni You Should Know: Isaiah Buse ’23, Owner/Publisher, the Houston Herald newspaper, Houston, Missouri

To say Isaiah Buse has had a momentous few months would be the understatement of the year.

First, the Houston, Missouri (population 2,100) native graduated from William Woods on April 29 with a degree in Business, doing so a year early at age 20. During the month of May, he both married his high school sweetheart Danielle Walker and purchased his first home in Houston, located in Texas County in south-central Missouri.

Oh, and in the middle of all that, Buse basically created his own first job out of college – as a newspaper owner and publisher – when he purchased the Houston Herald, a weekly newspaper founded in 1878 with a circulation of slightly over 4,000!

In newspaper parlance, that’s called “burying the lead.”

“I could have succeeded in an office and still could if I wanted to 15 or 20 years from now,” said Buse, who worked at the Herald covering the local school board when he was in high school. “I could be an accountant, or a financial analyst, I even have an active real estate license. But nothing else felt like it did here at the Herald.”

“Everyone’s purpose in life is to move the world a millionth of an inch. I wasn’t the first person to say that, but this was the place where I could move the world that millionth of an inch. I didn’t want to later wonder if I should’ve listed to my heart.”

So Buse became only the fourth Houston Herald owner since 1900, delivering something that residents in the small town can’t get anywhere else – local news.

Isaiah Buse standing outside of the Houston Herald newspaper building

“Newspapers are a vital part of democracy, and even more important than just newspapers is local, independent news,” he said. “A free press is an independent one, not owned by a large chain, and if it’s run by people who are affected by local matters, it is that much more effective. I hope that people understand the crucial function of local, independent news and continue the strong relationship the Houston Herald has had with the community for almost 150 years.”

20-year-old Isaiah Buse is now part of that history. But before he decided to return to his hometown and take the reins of a local institution, his own personal story needed to be written. At William Woods, where he studied a pair of subjects that are crucial to his new role – communications and business.


For a small town guy, touring the William Woods campus as a high school student felt about as comfortable as could be.

“I really enjoyed the small campus environment since I came from a town of 2,000,” said Buse. “The people were inviting and the professors cared about me as a person. I was hard to leave everything I knew, but The Woods made that transition easier and gave me what I’ll always consider my second home.”

And The Woods was fortunate to get something back when Buse enrolled – an impressive young student-athlete who would’ve been an asset to any college community. After achieving a near-perfect score on his ACT, Buse was awarded one of the University’s most prestigious honors – the Amy Shelton McNutt Scholarship – a four-year “free ride” scholarship that goes to one incoming student annually who exhibits academic achievement and outstanding character.

Isaiah Buse sitting at his desk at the Houston Herald newspaper

Buse competed for the Owls in track and tennis during his time at WWU, made some great friends and loved engaging his professors in academic debate and discussion. He also found great preparation for his professional career.

“Most universities can teach you the hard skills that you need in the workplace,” he said. “William Woods excels at helping students to step out of their comfort zone with interactive classes, numerous campus events and an environment that encourages students to know as many people as possible.”

Buse also learned to challenge himself while at William Woods in a big way – taking additional courses and excelling in the classroom to enable him to graduate one year early, in April 2023.

“I found that I was able to challenge myself more than I might have been able to otherwise,” he said.

Turns out the future 20-year-old newspaper owner and publisher was just getting started challenging himself.


Perhaps it’s no surprise that a young man as impressive as Isaiah Buse had always been planning for such a banner moment. With his college paid for, an absence of any debts and a frugal lifestyle, he was able to save and invest money from a young age. Which allowed him to have the necessary funds to go big and purchase the Houston Herald, a scant few days after his William Woods commencement.

Today, Buse runs the show at the Herald, a weekly publication with some 1,250 subscribers that sells around 4,000 papers each week, while attracting about 200,000 page views of the paper’s website each month.

“As owner/operator, you need to do whatever it takes to get the news out in all mediums (paper, website, email, text, social media, etc.) each week as well as run the business side of things,” he said. “I do some writing, page design, website maintenance, social media, reporting, ad sales, and all the things it takes on the accounting, financial analysis, employee management and business side to keep the operation running.”

At just 20, Isaiah Buse is most likely the youngest William Woods alumnus that you will ever meet. But he’s also further along than the vast majority of us are at such a young age, and though possessing a future that is bursting with the promise of endless possibilities, is very well living in the present moment.

“I am very happy with what I have right now,” he said. “I get to be a part of the community in which I live, I’m married to the girl of my dreams and I get the chance to lead an organization. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ in Jeremiah 29:11. I don’t know what those plans are, but I believe that God’s promise to give me hope and a future is yes and amen. I trust that I am where I am supposed to be, doing as he called me to do, and tomorrow will take care of itself.”