Founded by Kristian Ulltang
Firda was started as a paper for the eastern part of Sunnfjord by Kristian Ulltang, the first edition appearing on 15 December, 1917. Ulltang had operated a printing works for three years, having for example printed Ungdomsvennen, which was the paper of the folk high school at Solvang. At the time other parts of the county had had local newspapers for a long time, for example Florø and Nordfjordeid as far back as 1874. Firda was the first newspaper in Førde, with one small exception: the Florø newspaper Nordre Bergenhus Amtstidende was in the period 1886-91 published in Førde, because the editor E. M. Hole had his home there.
From 5 January, 1918 Firda was published every Saturday, and was printed in Ulltang's printing works in the Flom house, south of the bridge Langebrua. Ulltang had for quite a long time been an enthusiastic writer and journalist, and had been annoyed by the domination of the Florø papers:
"The eastern communities of Søndfjord have in recent years been able to grow, perhaps faster than other communities. And this growth is continuing and is going to continue. Therefore we need a mouthpiece for these communities. This is our purpose with "Firda", which we hope it will be."
Family ownership until 1995
To begin with the newspaper was edited in "riksmål", but "nynorsk" soon took over. The circulation passed 1000 in 1919, and the paper started to publish twice a week. In 1922, the printing works and the editorial staff were moved into Ulltang's house "Nøisomhet" at Teigen. In that same year the first picture was printed in the newspaper, when half of the bridge Langebrua was torn down by drifting ice in the river Jølstra. Only in 1927 was a telephone installed in the editorial office.
As early as in the 1920s Ulltang wanted to step down as editor, but he continued, with some intermissions, until 1928, when Olai Nordeide took over. He rented the printing works as well as the right to publish the newspaper, and he bought the newspaper in 1938. The newspaper was owned by the Nordeide family until A-pressa (company owned by the social democratic party) took over in 1995. In the 1930s, there was a certain newspaper war in Førde; in the years 1933-35 when Sunnfjord Tidend was in business, and from 1936 until the war when Gjallarhornet was published as a mouthpiece of the labour party.
During the war the Germans took over the newspaper, and the circulation fell from 4,000 to 900. After the war circulation grew constantly to a record of over 15,000 in 1998. The paper is read by over 80% of the population of Førde, Jølster, Gaular, Naustdal, Askvoll, Fjaler, and Hyllestad. In Høyanger and Solund Firda is also widely read. 32% of all the households in the county as a whole receive Firda every day.
From Ulltang's time the policy of Firda was to stay away from party politics, and this has been the case up to the present time (with a certain exception after the A-pressa took over). Firda has since 1988 had modern offices at Øyrane in Førde.