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Wanted: More local commentary for this page

The focus of Havre Daily News is local news.

We are a complete newspaper, but our emphasis — and our heart — is in Havre, the Hi-Line and north-central Montana. We love covering and being in the middle of the news developments, the sports stories, the interesting features and the commentary of our area.

John Kelleher

And we think that's what our readers are interested in. Our readers have a host of way of getting national and world news and ESPN and numerous other sources to keep track of the sports world. But, if we may be so bold, no one can give our readers the news of the Hi-Line like the Havre Daily News.

We would like this page to reflect that emphasis.

We are committed to placing a very local emphasis on this page. Along those lines, we have been beating the bushes to get more local columnists, people who will comment on news and everyday life in Havre and the Hi-Line. We'd love to have local columnists who can raise the interest, and perhaps raise the ire, of our readers.

Letters to the editor are one of our most popular features. People love seeing what their neighbors have to say, and they love doing verbal battle with those they disagree with.

By attracting local columnists, we hope we can create more of a dialogue on this page about the issues and matters of interest locally.

We hear buzz on the street about two of our columnists — Pam Burke, who writes on the lighter side of events, and Sondra Ashton, who has a knack for finding an interesting take on personal events. Columnist Rick Dow and letter-writer Bill Thackeray draw praise or stir heartburn, depending on the reader's political bent.

We'd like to hear from more of our talented readers who we are sure can sdd to the dialogue.

Some of the people we have talked to have political items to talk about. One is upset at the confusion that develops when two cars come to an intersection at Havre's many four corners where there are no stop signs. Another is concerned that besides gambling and drinking and going to church, there is not much for Havre's young people to do.

Anyway, if anyone has any ideas for putting more of a local emphasis on this page, or if you would be interested in contributing, we'd love to hear from you. Call me at 265-6795, ext. 17, or email me at [email protected].

We will be unveiling our new lineup soon.


For 42 years, John Barrows has been an old-fashioned, small-town newspaperman.

He spent most of his career in Wyoming and Montana. He did everything weekly newspaper people do: sold classified ads, delivered newspapers, covered council meetings, chastised public officials who thought it was OK to hold closed-door meetings, and sometimes, probably, ran the presses.

In recent years, he's been the executive director of the Montana Newspaper Association. There he has been the face of newspapering in the state. He's organized the contests, kept members informed of the many changing developments in the industry, organized training seminars, established many advertising initiatives that provide revenue to newspapers in these tough times and advised newspapers about laws that ensure a free and vigorous press that can keep tabs on developments in the state without government interference.

Barrows has stepped down. We wish him a well-deserved retirement.

He will continue for a while to lobby on behalf of the association, defending the industry we are lucky enough to be part of against those who want to weaken the rights the press has in the enlightened Montana Constitution and state statutes.

He has seen the industry move from linotype to Facebook. We're going to see lots more changes in coming years.

The new generations of journalists will have tech skills that John never dreamed of. How lucky we will be if the newcomers know the new technologies, but still have the gusto, commitment and the integrity that John has had.

(John Kelleher is managing editor of the Havre Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected], 406-265-6795, ext, 17 or 390-0798.)


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