Posted By admin on May 31, 2012
The Anaconda Company announced it had quit the newspaper business in Montana on the first day of June in 1959. The company, one of the largest producers of non-ferrous metals in the world, sold its eight dailies in six cities to Lee Newspapers of Iowa for a reported $6 million.
“Hello, Missoula!” began Lee’s greeting on the top of Page 1 in the Daily Missoulian and the afternoon Missoula Sentinel. In the introductory message, the new owners attempted to allay concerns that the newspapers would be operated with the same heavy hand the Anaconda Co. had exhibited.
“As Montana comes to know us better you will realize that each newspaper has a policy of independence and individuality just as our newspapers have shown in (the Midwest),” they wrote. “Publishers and editors call the turns as they see them; there is no such thing as dictated editorial policy.”
Thus ended more than six decades of “copper dailies.” The Anaconda Co. hadn’t even acknowledged ownership to its readers until 1947. Lee Enterprises, began in 1890 by A.W. Lee and family, still owns the Missoulian, the Billings Gazette, the Helena Independent Record, the Montana Standard of Butte, and has since added the Ravalli Republic. Of the other four papers purchased in ’59, the Livingston Enterprise and Anaconda Standard were sold, and the Butte Daily Post and Missoula Sentinel were discontinued.