Speculative energy drove a mining rush and also founded newspapers. Including Kaslo in the east and Nakusp in the west, seventeen newspapers were published in and around the Slocan just during the decade after the first silver finds in September, 1891. Just over a year later, there was a newspaper, The Kaslo-Slocan Examiner, in Kaslo, and before the end of 1893 other newspapers in Nakusp and Three Forks. To establish a townsite and erect a few buildings was, in effect, to attract a newspaper. In 1894, the townsite of Lardo (Lardeau), on Kootenay Lake north of Kaslo, briefly included four houses, two tents, and a newspaper.
A late-19th century mining rush to a remote and previously inaccessible location depended on information, but the means of delivery were few. The telegraph, which arrived in the summer of 1893, was expensive and unreliable. Postal deliveries, initially by pack train, opened the door to personal correspondence as well as to commercial and political news, but most people in the early Slocan had nothing to do with the telegraph and little more with the mail. Their connections were largely oral. In this communicative environment, there was ample place for newspapers. They enlarged the range and content of local information, and introduced elements of a larger outside world. Without them, the Slocan would hardly have recognized itself.
It was, however, no simple matter to establish a newspaper. A press had to be brought in, also type, paper, and competent personnel. A newspaper required, as the barest minimum, a compositor (typesetter), a reporter, and an editor, all of whom would have to multi-task. The Kaslo Claim, which ceased publication after four months, employed an editor, a reporter, a foreman, a pressman, and a compositor (as well as a poet). Perhaps it was overstaffed, but undoubtedly the publication of a weekly newspaper, usually comprising a dozen or more pages, was an enormous amount of work. Stories had to be sought out and written up, typeset, ads solicited, galley pages arranged, pages run off, collated, and distributed, finances managed. One can sympathize with R.T. Lowery, editor of The Kaslo Claim, who wrote at his paper’s demise that “[t]he men engaged in the publication of a newspaper work harder and get less for it than those in any other calling or business.”