California’s oldest weekly newspaper saved


The Mountain Messenger is based out of Downieville, California, a town of around 300 people and has been in publication since 1853.

The editor-publisher of the paper, Don Russell has been trying to sell the paper but has not had any luck. He planned on retiring in the middle of January, which would lead to the end of the publication.

That is when Carl Butz, a 71-year-old retiree stepped in to save the day according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I said, ‘OK, it’s not going to cost that much. I’m going to save it,’” Butz told the LA Times. “I’m going to try and make sure the thing survives.”

Butz’s goal is to create a nonprofit model for the paper and rely on more volunteers to help fill it out.

Butz knows how important local news is, and is sick of seeing papers across the country shut down.

“There’s just been this rash of these things across the country; you lose the community. I think we need to have newspapers.”

The paper has a circulation of around 2,400 and its claim to fame is that Mark Twain once wrote there while hiding out from the law. He was a contributor for only three or four weeks and wrote under his real name, Sam Clemens, according to Russell.

For now, the paper is safe and Russell will be able to enjoy his retirement with his family.

“It’s the absolute best thing I could have hoped for,” he said. “I get to do the stuff I like to do and not have to do the stuff I don’t like to do.”