Following up on a story broken by the Missoula Current, the Missoula Independent has new details on the suspension of Missoulian editor Matt Bunk, who violated company policy by bringing a gun to work.
Indy reporter Derek Brouwer (formerly a reporter for the Billings Gazette) writes: “In a personal Facebook post he shared Monday with the Indy, Bunk says the incident involved an antique handgun his girlfriend recently gave him as an engagement gift. The editor says he has a concealed carry permit and often wears a gun, but forgot to remove it from his hip before entering the office one day. ‘Someone pointed it out, and I put it back in my car immediately,’ he wrote.”
The Missoulian, like the Gazette, is owned by Lee Enterprises, and Brouwer points out that the “antique firearm” excuse wasn’t good enough for another editor at a Lee newspaper. Back in 1999, he reports, the editor of the Helena Independent-Record was fired for bring a .22 caliber Colt Woodsman to work.
Then there is this: Bunk is also the current president of the Montana Newspaper Association, where the executive director says the association is waiting to hear what Lee Enterprises does about the gun incident. If Bunk is fired, the director says, he would be ineligible to serve as board president.
Brouwer also reports that Missoula Current founder Martin Kidston, who left the Missoulian three months ago, told a local radio station more about troubles in the Missoulian newsroom, including this:
“I think people are a little dissatisfied with the direction of the corporation and some of its internal policies. (The employees) are overworked and underpaid and under-motivated because there is no reason to get motivated because there is no leadership. We’ve had four newsroom employees (leave) since the new editor arrived. The turnover is tough. They’ve got great reporters and its unfortunate that they are not getting what they need to do the job that they want to do.”
The whole interview is worth a listen.
Just one more note: Bunk also wrote on his Facebook page that “I routinely get threatened with violence due to my job, and a couple years ago decided to get a concealed carry permit to keep my loved ones and myself safe.”
Routinely threatened with violence? Wow. I must not be doing my job. The last time I was threatened was 10 or 12 years ago, when a real estate developer said he was thinking of coming down to the Gazette to “get Western” on me.