A yellowed copy of the Tuesday evening edition of the April 25, 1865, Idaho Statesman hangs near my office window overlooking our newsroom — with news so “fraught with horror that we can scarcely persuade ourselves but that we are the victims of some hideous dream.”
Abraham Lincoln, who worked so hard for so long to preserve this nation through the darkest part of our history, was shot dead. It took 11 days for that news to reach the Idaho Statesman and its readers.
As someone who started at the Statesman in 2017 as a breaking news editor (and as the nerdiest presidential history enthusiast you may ever meet), it’s fascinating to me how the news cycle — and our times — have changed. One November evening 153 years after Lincoln’s assassination, I’d learn that President George H.W. Bush had died through an Idaho Statesman push alert from our mobile app on my iPhone minutes after news broke nationally that he had passed away.
While the technology and the times have changed, our dedication to informing our readers of news large and local has not.
That’s why we’re inviting you to our office to celebrate the 155th anniversary of opening our doors in Boise. We started as the Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman from a log cabin on Main Street in 1864. We now publish on several platforms, including 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on IdahoStatesman.com, reaching more readers day in, and day out, than any other newspaper in the state.
We encourage you to join our staff from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Statesman, 1200 N. Curtis Road in Boise. I’d also love to welcome former reporters, editors and any other employees of the Statesman to share their war stories of the times they’ve spent creating this 155-year-institution. You can RSVP at idahostatesman.com/155.
We’ll provide coffee (a journalist’s best, and sometimes only, friend) and cake to celebrate. There will be giveaways for our wonderful book “History in Headlines: Celebrating 150 years of the Idaho Statesman” and a slideshow of some of our favorite photos and stories from over the years.
We hope that’s something you can join in on.
During the 50th anniversary celebration for the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, we had droves of readers call and write to us to say they kept their newspaper to mark the occasion from 1969. As I had conversations with those readers, they told me they’ve kept other print copies of our work over the years, including the Sept. 12, 2001, edition documenting the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
I’d love to see those and any other papers you may have saved over the years as a reminder of the importance of what we do, and how journalists write the first draft of history each day. Please bring any historic newspapers, other documents or trinkets that relate to the Idaho Statesman to share at the celebration — but be wary. My history nerd heart may burst with appreciation.
We’ve been a crucial part of this community for 155 years. It’s my hope that with continued support from readers like you, the Idaho Statesman editor 155 years from now will sit down like I am now to pound out a column using technology we couldn’t possibly anticipate to invite you to celebrate the next 155.
I hope to see you soon.