The staff and friends of the Milton Times are having a party May 1 to celebrate the newspaper’s 25 years of existence.

This is one step in creating a long-term plan for the future of the town’s only newspaper. We plan to celebrate the history of the Times

The first edition of the Milton Times was produced in a spare bedroom of a rented home a few blocks away from Mattapan Square. A software, no longer in regular use, called Pagemaker, was used to create the 12-page issue. Copy boards were driven to the printer in Hanover and a day later someone went back to pick up the printed papers.

Those newspapers were left around town, free for the taking.

The first few months the paper was produced every two weeks. There were few ads but Thayer Nursery, Alfred D. Thomas Funeral Home, F.A. King & Sons Plumbing all placed advertisements in the upstart paper.

Much has changed in 25 years.

The newspaper has paid employees and an office space on the edge of East Milton Square.

A goal of our 25th anniversary celebration is to raise money needed to digitize and archive the first issues of the paper. The old print issues are kept in the newspaper office but they are deteriorating due to age.

There are microfiche copies of all the issues of the Milton Times available at the public library but they are not searchable.

Since 2012, the paper has used a third-party company to provide a searchable archive. Those archives are open to all our e-edition subscribers.

What will the future look like for independent community newspapers?

In the community like Milton where the residents are interested in the public and private schools, where local government delivers services residents expect, where generosity is valued, the future of a local newspaper continues to be viable.

Change is inevitable. The people who provide the news and information for the Milton Times in 2020 are not those who helped to nurture the paper in 1995. The publisher has been here for 25 years and both Ed Baker and Hilda Morrill started within the first few months of the launch of the weekly.

But many of our early supporters are gone.

One change that is happening this year is the elimination of the stacks of old issues. Until now we have stored papers for the past issues for at least one year. Often times a parent or grandparent would drop by the office to pick up a copy that included a photo or story about someone in the family. In the past we could provide the old papers.

Beginning next week, we will only be storing newspapers for one month.

Digital reprints will be available instead of newsprint.

This year the newspaper won a series of awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. We scored accolades from our peers at the fall conference and at the winter convention. Elaine Cushman Carroll took a first-place award for her work on a series about housing in the community.

Our editor, Lisa D. Connell, has been acknowledged as producing one of the region’s Distinguished Newspapers.

Our advertising staff, Nadine Leary and Aldo Pinto, have been honored.

We are very grateful to our many advertisers and readers who have made all this possible.

We continue to seek the input of our supporters as we look at the ways we may better meet the needs of this changing community.

We are planning the 25th anniversary party with our eyes on what may be our future in the next 25 years.

We hope you can join us.

– Pat Desmond

Milton Times publisher

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