Records for Thief River Falls indicate that Thief River Falls has had at least 100 years of newspaper tradition to be proud of and it began with two newspapers.
The first newspaper, The Press, was published in 1889 when the settlement consisted of about 200 people. It was owned by E. C. Knappen and A. E. White, but was soon purchased by the Evenson Brothers and, in 1891, H. E. Mussey purchased The Press from the Evensons.
In 1911, Mussey began publishing the Thief River Falls Times, which he published until l912.
The News, the first newspaper of record noted by the State Historical Society for Thief River Falls, was moved from Red Lake Falls to Thief River Falls. (The State Historical Society has an issue of the paper from 1904.) During this time there were at least three newspapers in Thief River Falls.
The Press and Review were purchased and consolidated by F. E. Packard in February of 1905.
On May 23, 1923, the Thief River Falls Times burned to the ground. Three years prior, while the newspaper was located in the Union block, fire swept the plant and almost entirely destroyed it.
On October 1, 1923, The Times was purchased by Alvin E. Mattson, C. Waldemar Mattson and Edgar N. Mattson of Warren and the Warren Sheaf. The three brothers took over the paper after it had been printed at the Warren Sheaf for half a year because of the fire which destroyed its plant in Thief River Falls.
During the 1930's another newspaper appeared on the scene, The Thief River Falls Forum. Roy M. Aalbu and Harry L. Schuster were the owners. Bernice Berge was city editor from May 1, 1934 to January 5, 1935. The Forum office was located in the basement of the Elks building on the LaBree Avenue side.
Norman Holen, whose witty articles we still reprint, joined the Thief River Falls Times as city editor in 1930.
In 1949, Clarence Mattson was the business manager of The Times; Robert Mattson, the plant superintendent; Norman A. Holen, the city editor; William Dahlquist, the editor; and Huck Olson, the sports reporter.
Dahlquist served as editor of The Times until 1964 when Marvin Lundin, a native of Warren who had worked at the Warren Sheaf from 1954 to 1961, became editor. Lundin had been a reporter and later the city editor at The Times for three years before becoming the editor.
In 1965, The Times moved to its present location at 324 Main Avenue North from LaBree Avenue. The October 14, 1968, issue was the first edition printed on the new offset press and on October 16, the first four-color photo was run.
As of 1968, the Thief River Falls Times printed semi-weekly issues. The Times printing department has also printed newspapers for East Grand Forks, Roseau, Greenbush, Middle River, Warren, Red Lake Falls, Williams, and the North Star News, a consolidated newspaper for Lake Bronson, Karlstad, Kennedy and Lancaster. Currently newspapers printed include: Crookston Daily Times,Kittson County Enterprise, Oklee Herald, Leader-Record, McIntosh Times, Grygla Eagle, Twin Valley Times, 13 Towns, Red Lake Falls Gazette, Fertile Journal, Erskine Echo, Warren Sheaf, Middle River Honker, Valley Shopper, Valley Journal, The Chopper, Roseau Times Region and Volts & Jolts.
On August 1, 1986, John P. Mattson from Warren, MN, purchased The Times from Clarence W. Mattson, Robert C. Mattson and Marvin Lundin.
In July 2010, the Times was purchased by MCM Media LLC. Presently, Randal Hultgren is the publisher; David D. Hill, editor; Mike Lundgren, sports editor; April Schienoha and Scott DCamp, reporters. DeDe Coltom and Tom Williams handle the advertising department. The Times employs approximately 20 workers.
In 1990, The Times switched from a semi-weekly to a weekly newspaper, published on Wednesdays with a circulation of approximately 4,200. The Monday edition of The Times was combined with the Northern Minnesota Shoppers Guide to create a total market coverage product called the Northern Watch, which is now published on Saturday and has a circulation of approximately 23,200. The Northern Watch is northwest Minnesota's regional newspaper and is distributed free of charge in this area.
Since The Times and Northern Watch put its Web site online, http://www.trftimes.com, in January of 1997, the average number of visitors per month has dramatically increased to approximately 7,500 with most visits occurring on Wednesdays.
It is also interesting to note where many of our visitors reside. Many of our online readers are from outside of the United States. They commonly report that it’s nice to be able to keep informed about local events and news. These out-of-country visitors come from far away places such as Norway, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Indonesia, Japan, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Once on our home page, visitors often mention that we offer a lot of information. One explanation might be that The Times' Web site is updated twice weekly – Wednesday and Saturday. .
During the years we have had a Web site, we have constantly sought improvements.
Advertisers have been very supportive of our home page. Viewers can find connections on our page to these many area businesses.
The Times is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/trftimes.