As in many towns in the West before the turn of the century, politics played a part of the newspaper history of Russell and for a short time, the town boasted two weekly papers. The first venture into the field was made in the spring of 1895 by one of the town's founders, Major C.A. Boulton with his daughter Ellen Boulton as Editor. The weekly publication was dubbed The Chronicle and, like its founders had definite Conservative leanings.
In the spring of 1898, entered Russell's second weekly with the arrival of George Meikle from Saltcoats, Saskatchewan. Reportedly, Mr. Meikle's uniquely named "Canada Siftings" folio sized publication with it's decidedly Liberal politics pushed its only competitor, Major Boulton's Chronicle out of business....
And in 1899, the mast head of The Russell Banner was raised.
And has flown ever since.
The name The Banner is synonymous with Russell itself. In 1893 exhibits from our community took top honor at the Winnipeg Exhibition and received a colorful banner for their efforts.
It didn't take long to demonstrate that mixture of politics and publishing don't often translate into profit. By 1900, Mr. Joseph McIntyre, who received his in training at the Milverton (Ontario) Sun was persuaded by a local minister to journey west and take over the paper. His first issue - and the furthest the newspapers file date back - was published on June 23 of that year. McIntyre continued as publisher until November of 1936 when Cecil Sanderson took over as publisher.
In May of 1972, Clayton and Carol Chaloner made the move from Swan River where Clayton - known in town as Inky - worked in the print shop of the Star and Times under the guidance of Bill Sanderson. The Chaloners had a long history in the industry. Inky is the son of Garf and Ina, long time owners of the Grandview Exponent, a weekly publication that the couple still own and operate.
In May of 2003, the Chaloners bid farewell to Russell, selling to the Gilroy family who also own and operate The Dauphin Herald, The Swan Valley Star and Times, The Roblin Review, The Parkland Shopper and most recently, The Opasqua Times in The Pas
During its 100 - plus years of operation, the Banner has had many homes starting in a building formerly used as a flour mill, then to an old hotel, a small shed like building to the back of an old store. After some of these rather dubious housings, in 1950, the Banner found a more permanent and substantial home in what was the original Bank of Montreal during the years when the town was in its infancy. In 2003, after more than fifty years in that location in the center of Russell's Main Street, the Russell Banner moved to it's new and present location on the north end of Russell's Main Street.