The names of the newspapers over the history of North Dakota have been quite varied. There have been the celestial names such as the Churches Ferry Sun, the Hannah Moon, the Aneta Star and Burnstad Comet. There have been the progressive sounding names such as the Saint John Leader, the Halliday Booster and the Prairie Promoter out of Cooperstown. There have been many conventional names such as the Haynes Gazette, the Inkster Review, the Hunter Times or the Landsford Journal. There have also been some unconventional names such as the Hamilton X-Ray, the Alice Avalanche, the Fargo Blade, the Pink Paper out of Bathgate or the Loco Weed out of Schafer.
Over one thousand, four hundred and twenty-one different newspapers titles have been identified in the nearly one hundred and fifty year publishing history of the state. In 1897, North Dakota had one hundred and twenty-six newspapers, and only six years later that grew to two hundred and twenty-seven. By 1919, a person living in North Dakota could subscribe to three hundred and twenty-seven different newspapers published across the state.
There were other interesting names such as the Donnybrook Mirror, the Gascoyne Pennant, the Grand Forks Plaindealer, The Devils Lake Inter Ocean, the Pioneer-Arrow out of Fort Yates, or the Crystal Call. To soar above the rest of its competition you could even find the Crosby Eagle. The first newspaper published in the state was the Frontier Scout, which began in 1864 at Fort Union.
But on this date in 1888, the new proprietors of the Dakota Blizzard out of Casselton, found the name of the newspaper intolerable and were determined to change it. They reasoned:
“There is neither wit nor sense in the name. Upon taking possession of the office, the present proprietors inherited it, just as some unfortunates inherit from their ancestors, idiocy or lunacy. They can not get rid of the curse entailed upon them by the bad conduct of their progenitors, but this heritage of a christening by wild-eyed lunacy or a mild form of idiocy, we can dump into the waste basket, and give to the paper a reputable and meaningful name to begin the new year with, relieving the strain upon our long suffering subscribers.”
The new name chosen to replace the title of Dakota Blizzard was – the North Dakota Republican. This newspaper would last only five years to be replaced by the Casseltonian. One wonders what these editors would have thought of a new newspaper that began publishing in Casselton in 1898 with the unconventional name of – The Eye.
Dakota Datebook written by Jim Davis
The Wahpeton Times December 27, 1888
North Dakota Newspaper Project Summary 1991 by Gerald Newborg