The company has its origins in 1967, when Gary Rust and his wife Wendy purchased the small Cape Girardeau Weekly Bulletin. In 1982, he purchased his first daily paper, the Dexter Statesman. In 1986, he purchased the Southeast Missourian, the daily paper in town, from Thomson Newspapers.
By 1993, the company owned part or all of four newspapers. As of 2009, the family-owned company had full or part ownership of 18 daily papers, 30 weekly papers, and 17 radio stations in eight states.
In 2001, Gary Rust retired from daily management of the company, and turned over the reins to sons Jon, who is on the Board Of Directors for the Associated Press, and Rex Rust, as well as COO Walter Lage. In 2003, Rust was inducted into the Missouri Press Association's Newspaper Hall of Fame.
Holdings of Rust Communications include the following daily newspapers:
- Dexter Statesman (Dexter, Missouri) (acquired 1982)
- Southeast Missourian (purchased 1986)
- Marshall Democrat News (purchased 1997)
- Nevada Daily Mail (purchased 1997)
- Monett Times (acquired 2009)
- The Concordian
- The Brazil Times (acquired 2001)
- Greencastle Banner-Graphic (acquired 1999)
- Greene County Daily World (formed 2007)
- Gary Rust to be inducted into Newspaper Hall of Fame, Nevada Daily Mail, July 1, 2003
- Tribune-Monitor Sold to Missouri Company, Fort Scott Tribune, August 2, 2004
- Newspaper added to Daily Sentinel's parent company, Le Mars Daily Sentinel, March 12, 2009
- Rust Names Regional Vice Presidents, Editor & Publisher, September 1, 2010
- Newspaper Group to Purchase Gazette, McCook Daily Gazette, August 18, 1997
- Rust Publishing Buys Fort Scott Tribune-Monitor, Nevada Daily Mail, August 3, 2004
- Randy List moving to Iowa as his Publishing Duties Expand, Greencastle Banner-Graphic, September 28, 2012]
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