Friday, May 22, 2015

Lee newspapers crush Montana capital bureau

Update, 24 May, 0817 MDT:
Texas leads the way with more than 50 full-time Capitol reporters, and South Dakota brings up the rear with only two. [Journalists, politicians react to loss of Capitol reporters]

My gut is growling something about Gannett and Lee Enterprises getting hitched.

Waves of gloom and doom are sweeping through Montana's media family.
Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, Montana's most prominent political reporters, are leaving their posts next week as the Lee Newspapers State Bureau closes. "It's a loss for everyone who cares about informed civic discussion of statewide politics. Their decades of institutional memory and experience are unmatched," said Dennis Swibold, a University of Montana School of Journalism professor. Dennison and Johnson could have taken new reporter positions at significantly lower pay, but chose to take buyouts. Lee is the largest newspaper company in Montana. [Kristen Inbody]
Stock in LEE spiked yesterday in unusually strong trading.

Lee newspapers in the state include the Billings Gazette, Helena Independent Record, Montana Standard, Missoulian, Ravalli Republic and the Mini Nickel advertiser.

Some, but not all of the Lee Newspapers of Montana supported Democrat Jon Tester while endorsing a white Mormon for president.

The Bismarck Tribune supported earth haters Willard Romney and Rick Berg. The Rapid City Journal also supported only earth haters, as did the Sioux City Journal.

The Casper Star-Tribune threw President Obama under the coal hauler while the Lincoln Journal-Star supported both the President and former senator Democrat Bob Kerrey.

The Sioux City Journal and its parent company are earth haters' wet dreams.

After her company's stock lost half its value, Jim Romenesko's story on Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck's pay raise rolled through the twitterverse like a bowling ball.

Comments on the Lee decision from Romenesko here.

Reactions to the news can be found here, here and here.

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