If you’ve had any reason to wonder why it’s important to have independent press coverage in Montana towns previously dominated by corporate monopolies, please see Exhibit A.
This Missoula Current story, written by a good reporter who left the Missoulian a couple of months ago, tells of how the new Missoulian editor, hired late last year, has been suspended until further notice for packing a gun to work, which is against policies established by Lee Enterprises, owner of the Missoulian (and the Billings Gazette).
Martin Kidston bases his story on an internal email provided to him. Its authenticity is advertised by its tone-deaf terminology, a hallmark of official Lee communications. As Kidston reported: “The email, distributed to staff members this week, added that employees with the Billings Gazette would provide ‘assistance’ to the ‘Missoulian product.’”
And of course there is this:
“(Publisher Mark) Heintzelman hired Bunk from a twice-weekly paper in Libby late last year after demoting former editor Sherry Devlin for undisclosed reasons. Devlin had worked at the Missoulian since 1979, working her way up to become the paper’s first female editor.
“Devlin later filed a lawsuit against Lee Enterprises on Feb. 19 in Missoula County District Court. According to the Missoula Independent, the suit alleges that Heintzelman ‘unfairly demoted her once he took control of the paper, cut her pay in half, and then filled the editor position with a younger, less qualified male (Bunk).'”
But I shouldn’t be stealing Martin’s thunder. There are many other details, which you can see by clicking on the “Exhibit A” link above.