The third strategy revolved around publications designed to serve the needs of special communities not defined by geography but rather through some shared interest, characteristic, or concern. This was not a particularly new idea. In 1844 The Michigan Farmer
had been established to report on subjects of interest to rural famers. The Farmer
had been followed by pioneering trade publications such as the Lake Superior News and Mining Journal
(1846) the Peninsular Journal of Medicine
, (1853), The Detroit Journal of Commerce
(1865) and The Detroit Review of Medicine and Pharmacy
One of the better documented of these early commercial papers was the Lumberman’s Gazette
, published in Bay City between 1872 to 1885. The Gazette originally began publication as means to report on sawmill machinery but the paper quickly expanded to cover the industry as a whole. Although the paper originally had considerable trouble getting lumbermen to share data, as the paper gained circulation among investors lumbermen who wanted new cash for their firms became more willing to share information about their company. Like any industry publication the Gazette prospered or declined with the industry it covered, and by 1879 the paper was speculating that Saginaw river valley’s lumbering days were drawing to a close. In 1885 the paper ceased publication and the remnant of its assets were sold in 1887.
Religious and social reform organizations also began to print their own weekly publications. The first such publication in Michigan appears to have been printed by the Seventh Day Adventists.. In November 1855, elder James White brought the already printing Adventist publications, The Review and Herald
(first printed 1850) and the Youth’s Instructor
(first printed 1852) to Battle Creek. The group added the Health Reformer
to these publications in 1866. The first social reform publication in the state was the Home Messenger
, which appeared in Detroit in late 1868 to benefit “the Home of the Friendless,” a charitable entity established to assist unwed mothers. Subsequently, the Baptists founded The Herald and Torchlight
, in Kalamazoo in 1871. It was followed in 1872 by the Catholic, Western Home Journal
. The Michigan Christian Advocate
, a Methodist publication, appeared in 1875.
Among the most successful publications in this category, however, were the ethnic press.