Our motto at the Lewistown News-Argus is "Covering Central Montana Like the Stars."
As the community newspaper of Central Montana, we strive to provide the most comprehensive news, sports, entertainment and agricultural coverage for our citizens.
We also provide many other services, including complete professional commercial printing and mailing services.
As the area's news source, we attempt to cover all facets of what is going on in the area, whether it be the Chokecherry Festival or the district court.
We try very hard to keep pace with the local news events, however, the public still remains a valuable source for news events. Please feel free to contact us with any news tips, announcements or ideas you have.
Our office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Our business began on Aug. 9, 1883 in the Judith Mountains.
Charles S. Fell and John M. Vrooman came from Billings with a hand press and a small supply of type slung in sacks over the necks of their horses. They started the Mineral Argus in the then-booming gold town of Maiden.
The newspaper prospered with the town, but soon the gold began to peter out. The two partners moved their business to Lewistown, the newly named county seat of the recently created Fergus County. On Aug. 5,1886, they published the first Lewistown issue of what they now called the Fergus County Argus.
The newspaper changed hands and names in the decades that followed, surviving competition from other newspapers, drought and Depression.
It came to be owned in the 1930s by five partners. Called the Lewistown Democrat News, its majority owners were publisher Tom Stout, a former congressman; business manager Harry Lay; and advertising manager Earl McGinnis. Minority owners were Lloyd Raw, in charge of printing and the accompanying office supply store, and Jack Hanley, editor.
The five sold the business after World War II to George and Russell Bennett. The brothers, who were raised in Hobson, had owned newspapers in Texas and other southwestern states. Lloyd Raw continued with the Bennett brothers, and Jack Hanley became administrative assistant to then Montana governor Sam Ford.
After two years, the Bennetts decide to sell the Democrat News and its printing and office supply business.
Ken Byerly, a midwesterner who owned the Thermopolis, Wyo. Independent Record for seven years (including more than three years while serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II), bought the business effective May 1, 1947. Lloyd Raw continued with the newspaper, which Byerly renamed the Lewistown Daily News in 1948. It was published five times a week.
He sold the Daily News to Ed Fike, a Californian, who proved to be a colorful but unsuccessful owner. Within a few years, Byerly bought back the paper, near bankruptcy, at a sheriff's sale on the Fergus County courthouse steps.
Ken Byerly ran the paper from a distance until he returned in 1971. Shortly afterward, in 1972, he converted the small daily to a semi-weekly (twice a week) all-local-news community newspaper. It was renamed the Lewistown News-Argus, a combination of its original and most recent names. The office supply was sold but the printing remained as an important part of the business.
At the same time the paper went semiweekly, it also went offset (as opposed to hot lead or hot type, as it had been for decades), beginning a process of updating its printing and pre-press equipment and technology that continues unabated today.
The switch to a true community newspaper was a key move, as circulation increased by 2,000 as the newspaper's reach into its Central Montana market (and ability to deliver results to its advertisers) dramatically increased.
In 1977, Ken's son, Dave, joined the business, and in 1993 he was officially named publisher.
In September of 2000, the News-Argus ended 53 years in the Byerly family, when it was sold the the Yellowstone Newspaper Group, a Montana-based group with 2 daily newspapers, 2 bi-weekly newspapers and 6 weekly newspapers. The corporate office is located in Livingston, Montana.
In December 2000, Oron Jacobs was named publisher of the News-Argus and News-Argus Printing. He filled that position until 2009 when he retired from the industry. Jacques Rutten was promoted from managing editor to publisher in 2009 and continues in that role today.
Looking to the future
In the last 20 years, advertising and printing volumes have increased substantially and the newspaper continues to be the number one source for local news, sports, entertainment and advertising.
While recent years have seen dramatic improvements in both the printing and newspaper sides of the business, it also has seen a careful venturing into new ways of delivering news and advertising information. The News-Argus offered its first web site in 1996. Twelve years later, in spring of 2008, we launched a new-and-improved site, designed to help us deliver news and advertising in the 21st century.