About Us

about the river journal 

FIRST INCARNATION

The River Journal was first published in December of 1993 and covered the areas of Heron, Noxon and Trout Creek in Montana, along with Hope and Clark Fork in Idaho. Local hiker and forest service worker Dennis Nicholls, with his friend Paul Baker who was visiting from England, began the paper in the hopes of creating something that would carry them through to retirement once they were too old to hike in the woods.

Most of the work was done by volunteers - people like Trish Gannon, who wrote articles and sold advertising; Dee Miller and Janie MacGregor who worked on the business end of things, plus a whole slew of writers whose fine work helped to make the paper "a newspaper worth wading through." The paper was published weekly, bi-weekly, monthly - whatever schedule happened to fit in with Dennis’ woods work.

Although well received in those local communities, the paper struggled financially and, on February 12, 1996, Dennis published the "final" issue of the River Journal. "They say, ‘all good things must come to an end,’" Dennis wrote in that issue. "This thing’s just not working out."

SECOND INCARNATION

 

Readers wanted the River Journal back, and, in September 1996, Dennis began publishing again. This time, with the help of Heronite Sandy Compton, he determined to publish once each month and direct-mail the River Journal to more than 16,000 households in the communities of Sanders County, Montana and Bonner County, Idaho. For a brief time in 1997, "River Publishing" also published the Sandpoint Sunday. It was at this time that Trish Gannon, a volunteer working for Dennis who wrote stories and sold advertising, began as a paid employee, adding layout and delivery to her list of duties.

The Sandpoint Sunday ceased publication after six weeks. The River Journal continued to be mailed directly to homeowners once each month for the next two years. In 1998, publication went to twice monthly, and the home delivery stopped. The River Journal was then distributed to Sanders and Bonner counties via newsstands, grocery stores, gas stations and more. The ‘home office’ moved from Noxon to Sandpoint.

THIRD INCARNATION

In July of 2001, saying he was "burnt out," Dennis published his final issue of the River Journal, and turned his back on the publishing business. At that time, Trish Gannon purchased the business, and the River Journal continued on a twice-monthly publishing schedule, adding Elmira, Naples and Bonners Ferry, plus Athol, Bayview, and Coeur d’Alene to the distribution area. Trish hired Ernie Hawks to help with the work, and he stayed as an employee of the paper for the next four years. Trish’s family has also been and continue to be an integral part of putting each issue together and getting it out into the local communities - Jody Forest, Billie Presley, Misty Grage and Dustin and Amy Gannon.

Trish also began adding popular writers to the paper, which made it even more ‘worth wading through.’ Marianne Love, Lou Springer, Paul Rechnitzer, Dick Cvitanich, Scott Johnson, Duke Diercks, Julie Hutslar, Kathy Osborne, Gary Payton, Thomas McMahon, Lawrence Fury, Kate Wilson, Matt Haag, Michael White, George Eskridge and Jim Elliott all make regular contributions to these pages.

In 2003, with the help of Keokee Creative Group in Sandpoint, the River Journal made its online debut.

TODAY

The River Journal is still wholly owned and published by Trish Gannon, out of an office in her spare bedroom at her home in Clark Fork. Approximately 6,000 copies each issue are distributed through racks and countertops in two states, four counties, and over 16 communities.

Talented area writers like Billie Jean Plaster, Rhoda Sanford, Desire Aguirre, Sherry Ramsay, and Marylyn Cork have helped to draw interest with their front page news stories on the events and happenings of the local area.

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Featured author

Mary Costello

Mary Costello writes for Save Our Cabinets (www.SaveOurCabinets.org). She is the Executive Director of the Rock Creek Alliance (www.RockCreekAlliance.org) and lives in Trout Creek, Montana.