Anaconda Company controlled newspapers until Lee Enterprises purchases The Independent-Record
The end of an era The Anaconda Company, Montana's largest employer which was at one time held in such awe by Treasure Staters that it was simply referred to as "The Company" is now a subsidiary of the giant Atlantic Richfield Co. The Anaconda Co. shrunk from giant to minnow and was swallowed with ease by a corporate shark. Anaconda was THE company. It controlled the press in Montana and greatly influenced the destiny of the state. The company reigned supreme. It owned daily newspapers in Billings, Butte, Livingston, Helena and Missoula. One newsman who worked for an Anaconda-owned paper said, "Jesus Christ couldn't get his picture on the front page for the Second Coming if the boys in Butte said no." The marching orders eminated by the Mining City. Mining accidents were played down or didn't see print. The news was tightly controlled. A former editor said (after Anaconda sold the papers to Lee Enterprises) that he had a hard time getting out of the habit of reading the Montana old the Standard because in the days everybody played news the same way as the Standard. When The Anaconda Co. sold those newspapers it started to slink into the background. The days of power brokering were numbered. In recent years Anaconda has maintained a very low profile. Montana Power emerged as the new company everyone is out to get. Meanwhile, Anaconda kept itself busy trying to keep its head above water. The low price of copper has resulted in many layoffs and a host of problems for the company. Atlantic Richfield Co. (Arco) officials reportedly plan to pump up to $1 billion into its new subsidiary to enable Anaconda to develop its ore resources and production plants. The merger should be very beneficial to The Anaconda Co. and to Montana. We hope that Arco does revitalize the ailing copper mining company. We also hope that Arco will assume the role of a good corporate citizen in Montana.