REPUBLIC The News-Miner, owned by Dick Graham since 1968, will cease publication May 16.
The weekly newspaper’s closure was announced in the May 9 issue.
“The May 16 edition will be the last edition of the Republic News-Miner,” said a one-paragraph, front page announcement under the headline “To cease operation.”
“I’d like to have a little time off before I croak,” said Graham, 76.
“The News-Miner carries a century-old tradition that I’m sorry to see the end of, and the Grahams especially have given unceasing support to the people of Ferry County,” Ferry County View Publisher Greg Sheffield said. “We wish them all the best.”
“Newspapers like the News-Miner are the lifeblood of small towns,” The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle Publisher Roger Harnack said. “It’s unfortunate when they close.”
Sheffield said he’s not sure how the News-Miner’s demise will affect his paper.
It’s kind of hard to be at a
Tuesday night sporting event
when you have to work late
putting the paper together.
— News-Miner Publisher Dick Graham
In recent years, the News-Miner and The View have battled over Ferry County legal advertising. The Chronicle has also bid on legals in previous years.
Commissioners planned to award the coming year’s contact last week, but decided to seek new bids.
Graham said he “officially” retired in 1999, but retained ownership and stayed involved. His daughter-in-law, Gina Graham, has been the day-to-day publisher, but recently took a job with Colville tribe.
Although Dick Graham decided just before deadline Tuesday morning, May 7, to “stick something in” about ceasing publication, he said he’s been working toward closure for a couple years.
He said his family discussed shutting the paper’s doors two years ago and for the past several months “I never sent out any renewal notices.”
Graham said he’s struggled at times to stay afloat over the years. In recent years, the economy has been so awful that staying in business has been even more difficult. Graham said he doesn’t take a paycheck.
“I won’t sell it to an individual who would have to struggle,” he said.
In the past, especially in the 1990s, the economy was better and the paper produced 14-16 pages a week. It’s smaller now and circulation has dwindled from 2,200 to around 415, plus news stands.
The Chronicle has a similar circulation in Ferry County.
“I get 700 printed,” he said.
Graham said he won’t miss the weekly trek over Sherman Pass to be at the press in Colville at 7 a.m. Wednesdays.
During his more than 44 years in Republic, Graham said he’s tried to give back to the community through projects such as working on getting a new library building, working with the Jaycees on a town park, promoting construction of a new hospital in 1974 and building the new athletic field a year later.
For many years, Graham had a staff of two writers, both of whom had been on the job around 50 years. One died a few years ago. In recent years, he and his daughter-in-law ran the paper.
Graham said he looks forward to following his granddaughter, Shania Graham, in her school and sports activities. She’s an eighth-grader in Republic.
“It’s kind of hard to be at a Tuesday night sporting event when you have to work late putting the paper together,” he said.
Graham plans to continue living in Republic.
“Just put in that I’m going to be hanging around,” he said.
The News-Miner’s roots date back to 1896, Graham said.
According to “An Illustrated History of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan and Chelan Counties,” published in 1904, The Republic Pioneer started March 26, 1898. The Republic Miner was established Jan. 21, 1899.
“During the life of The Miner, the town of Republic was passing through the sensational experience of a ‘boom,’ and newspaper business was good,” the book said.
From December 1899 to November 1900, The Miner was issued both daily and weekly, “and a very creditable publication was the result,” the book said.
The Miner’s owner purchased The Pioneer and the two papers were consolidated on Sept. 7, 1901, as the Pioneer-Miner.
The Pioneer’s former owner, A.I. Drake, went into the job printing business and on Oct. 4, 1900, he re-entered the field and launched the Republic Daily News, a daily until Nov. 17, 1900, then a weekly until Dec. 4, 1901, and a twice-a-week paper until June 15, 1903.
On that date, Drake purchased The Pioneer-Miner, consolidated into The Republic News-Miner.