MTPR

Lee Enterprises


The Billings Gazette laid off three people from their newsroom earlier this month. The latest string of cutbacks in Billings mirror widespread newsroom layoffs in Montana and across the nation.

Former Indy Staffers Top row (L to R): Charley Macorn, Devon Wade, Susan Shepard,  Erika Fredrickson, Brad Tyer, Derek Brouwer,  Bottom Row (L to R): Alex Sakariassen, Ariel LaVenture, Kou Moua,
Nick Mott

Former staffers of the recently shuttered Missoula Independent announced Thursday that they’re taking steps to create a new outlet for local journalism.

Last month, about a year and a half after buying the Independent, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises shut it down. In more than 25 years the alternative weekly found its way to about 500 distribution locations in the Missoula area.

Supporters of the Missoula Independent protest the paper's closure in front of the Missoulian building in Missoula, September 11, 2018.
Josh Burnham

A crowd of around 100 people gathered outside the Missoulian late Tuesday afternoon to protest the abrupt closure of the the Missoula Independent.

Demonstrators wielding brightly colored signs congregated on a corner as passing cars honked their horns to show support for the now-defunct Missoula institution and its staff.

Missoula Independent sign.
Josh Burnham

The Missoula Independent newspaper that hit the stands last week will be its final edition.

Lee Enterprises announced Tuesday it has shut the paper down nearly a year and a half after buying the alternative weekly.

Missoula Independent sign.
Josh Burnham

Staffers at the Missoula Independent newspaper say its parent company, Lee Enterprises, is threatening to gut the alternative weekly. Monday, the paper turned to its readers for help.

The Missoula Independent’s staff unionized earlier this year, making it one of only a handful of union papers now owned by publishing giant Lee Enterprises.

Staff at the Missoula Independent weekly newspaper will formally vote Friday on whether to unionize.

A year ago the Missoula Independent was bought by Lee Enterprises, which owns nearly 50 papers across 21 states, including in Billings, Butte, Helena and Missoula.

A mining dump truck buries the abandoned Holy Saviour Church in the McQueen neighborhood in Butte during the expansion of the Berkeley Pit.
Walter Hinick, Montana Standard.

One of the longest serving newspaper photographers in the state had his job eliminated by Lee Enterprises last month.

Walter Hinick shot for Butte’s Montana Standard since 1976. Shortly after he lost his job, I had a chance to talk with him in Butte at the Mountain Con Mine overlook park.

Staff at the Missoula Independent are making strides to unionize.

All 10 of the alternative weekly paper’s non-management employees supported filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board, sent Monday, to begin the process.

Lee Enterprises, which owns the Missoulian newspaper and several other papers in Montana, announced Thursday it’s purchased the Missoula Independent. The sale price was not disclosed.

The Independent, a weekly alternative paper, was founded in 1991 and is distributed at almost 500 locations in Missoula, Ravalli and Lake counties. Lee operates papers in 21 states and is estimated to reach almost 3 million readers in print alone.

Lee Newspapers Closing Capitol Bureau

May 22, 2015
Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

Late Thursday afternoon a news story broke on the Great Falls Tribune website that spread across Twitter like wildfire, and struck some people like a death in the family: Lee Newspapers, which owns five of Montana’s largest papers, is closing its state bureau, and its two reporters, Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, are leaving the company.