Bringing you the local news
April 29, 2021
When The Ledger first started publication, the owners would take the copy to Missoula on the train, and produce the articles and pages at The Missoulian. Then they would return to Thompson Falls on the train with the printed papers. The process probably took a couple days. The newspaper in its first year was four pages.
Each week, Ledger reporters conduct interviews, take photographs, attend meetings and events and seek out news. On Mondays, they finish writing their articles and file stories. While we used to process articles on a computer and print them out for pasting to pages, now most of that is completed on the computer. Ads are sold and designed, obituaries and legal notices are typed and we start thinking about how the paper comes together.
On Tuesdays, we produce the pages. Layout is done on the computer, whereas when I worked at The Ledger in high school, Tuesdays meant you’d be going home with a hefty covering of wax. Columns of printed text were cut to a specific length, run through a machine to put sticky wax on the back, then pasted on an actual page template made of thick paper. We had a dark room where the photos were produced to the correct size, then we had spools of lined stickers in different weights to add a frame to the photos.
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, the page templates would be driven to Kalispell to The Daily Inter Lake to make negatives and plates of the pages which were then loaded on to the press. That process is now all digital, but we still drive to Kalispell early each Wednesday to pick up the printed Ledgers and begin delivering to local vendors. Many of our papers are delivered through the mail, and just as it was when my Ledger career started in 1995, we have two employees who put each label on by hand.
A lot has changed in the Ledger’s history. It’s hard to envision what our process will be in another 20 years, but we’ll still work hard to bring you the best local news coverage.
— Annie Wooden