Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Marin IJ celebrates 150th anniversary

Employees of the Marin County Journal, predecessor
of the Marin Independent Journal, gather for
 work in 1908. Photos from the IJ's website.

Speaking about the Marin IJ, that paper celebrated its 150th anniversary last week.

The first edition was just four pages, printed one at a time on a hand-operated press, according to an anniversary story that ran Wednesday. “Marinites eagerly bought the Journal for news of the Civil War and stories about the growing pains of California. The weekly's owners editorialized often and stoutly in defense of the Union,” the story said.

Later in the paper’s history, in 1970 and 71, a strike at the paper became “the biggest labor upheaval of the century in Marin County.”
    San Francisco Typographical Union Local 21 went on strike at the IJ in January 1970 in a dispute marked by riots, vandalism, firebombings and murder. The strike dragged on until fall 1971, when the union lost an election at the paper. Alan W. Daly, the IJ's 30-year-old production systems manager, was killed when two teens burst into his home and shot him. The two served three years in prison, and the union member who hired them got life. Daly's widow settled a suit with the union for $1.6 million, and the IJ collected $1.1 million after settling a conspiracy suit.
Here's a link to an editorial that the IJ ran on its 150th birthday.

Last year, the IJ was honored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association as the best newspaper of its size in the state. In addition to the award for General Excellence, the IJ also won top honors for Freedom of Information, best Opinion pages and best editorial cartoon.

The IJ's daily circulation today is about 30,000. Its website, www.marinij.com, averages more than 2 million page views a month. The combination of print and digital distribution means the IJ's readership has never been greater.

The IJ moved its operations from downtown
San Rafael to Novato in 1981. IJ photo by
Stuart Lirette.

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