I was saddened to read that The Forum will no longer be printed in Fargo.
I recall so well when I worked at The Forum as a reporter and night editor (1963-1966) after graduating from journalism school at the University of Minnesota, how we waited for the presses to start.
As night state editor I had to make certain the paper was completed, so the presses could roll in time to catch the trains for our readers in central and western North Dakota. If we were late, the train left without the paper, and we’d be in trouble.
It always felt good to hear the presses start and shake the building, letting us know the paper would be on the train.
Then there would be a slight lull, as we prepared the Minnesota edition, which went to northwestern Minnesota, mainly by truck. Then we’d hear and feel the presses roll again.
The final edition went to press later, mainly for the Fargo area. Then we headed home, our job done.
- Forum newspaper will now print in Detroit Lakes as downtown Fargo press rolls for last time in 143 years
I often worked with Harry Moore, and we’d often comment that sometimes we’d have “Forum-itis.” That is when we’d wake up and get a feeling we had screwed up on a headline or story. If we had taken a paper home, we might get up and check to make certain. Usually we were OK.
I do recall the time of the first edition when the linotype operator had left an “f” out of shift on the front page, and we had to stop the presses, smash the word before the presses resumed printing.
At that time, the morning paper was mainly distributed outside of Fargo-Moorhead, with the afternoon paper distributed to homes in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
I also recall the night I had written a big story about a man named Johnson who had been convicted of manslaughter.
The banner headline read: “Johnson convicted of manslaughter.” Sure, an ok headline as it was quite a story. However, as the paper was put together, a four column picture of President Lyndon Johnson with another story was accidentally placed below that headline. Needless to say when the editor, John Paulson, came in the next morning and saw the headline and picture, he was not pleased.
Another paper we put out the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, had the headline, “Kennedy shot; still alive.” However, when word came he was dead, we chased after the carriers to retrieve those papers, while a new edition was printed.
Such was life before The Forum was forced to only print twice a week. Sad, but economics has taken over. I doubt if reporters today have the fun we had seeing our stories in print on newsstands all over North Dakota and Northwestern Minnesota.
Ted Storck lives in Morris, Minn.