Ed Kemmick

Ed Kemmick has been a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist since 1980. Except for four years in his home state of Minnesota, he has spent his entire journalism career in Montana, working in Missoula, Anaconda, Butte and Billings. "The Big Sky, By and By," a collection of some of his newspaper stories and columns, plus a few essays and one short story, was published in 2011.

Recent Posts

On the way out, a Lee publisher blasts the home office


In my Prairie Lights column this Sunday, I wrote about the same-day endorsements of U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte in three Montana daily newspapers, all of them owned by Lee Enterprises. I said that in my many years with Lee I had never seen any “overt attempts at corporate dictation, or even of political collusion among several Lee papers.” I hope it was clear that my reference to corporate dictation referred only to matters of political endorsements and such. In other matters—those that most closely affect readers—there was never-ending corporate control, and apparently it’s only getting worse. In a remarkable good-bye column published Friday, Chris Rush announced to readers of The World, a Lee-owned newspaper in Coos Bay, Ore., that he was stepping down as publisher. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Prairie Lights: A 2nd opinion on that triple endorsement


Unsurprisingly, three Montana daily newspapers, all owned by Lee Enterprises, have come out in support of Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in the special election to fill Montana’s vacant (and only) seat in the U.S. House. You can read what the editorial boards of the Billings Gazette, the Missoulian and the Helena Independent-Record had to say, or you could just glance at one of them, because they all said essentially the same thing: that in these perilous times we need somebody who can get right to work, which they claim Gianforte is ready to do. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Photo Gallery: Signs of the times, here and there


I think the idea for this series of photos was born more than a year ago, when I laid eyes on the sign that leads off the gallery. I was walking my dog down by the sugar plant on State Avenue when I saw the old gray shed and the barely legible sign warning about the possible withholding of services. It was so odd that I went back later with my camera. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Newspaper shutdown sets stage for new Lancaster novel


Billings novelist Craig Lancaster is just out with his latest book, “Julep Street,” about Carson McCullough, a lifelong journalist whose world is shattered when the small daily newspaper he works for is suddenly and unceremoniously closed down. In a hilariously unsuccessful attempt to deal with his new reality, Carson embarks on a road trip in a Mustang convertible, freshly purchased with his severance check. Accompanied by his best friend, Hector, an old yellow Lab with a diminished appetite for adventure, Carson goes off to chase job prospects, visiting old friends and one old flame. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Beartooth Electric: The little co-op that could, and did


The trustees of the Beartooth Electric Cooperative recently informed members that they would see an average reduction of 5 percent in their electric bills starting July 1. That’s notable in itself, but it follows three other rate reductions totaling 20 percent over the past two years. The idea that energy consumers anywhere would see a total rate reduction of 25 percent in a little more than two years seems incredible. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

VICE reports on Whitefish ‘troll storm’

Tanya Gersh

“VICE News Tonight” has produced an eight-minute segment on the mess up in Whitefish, where a local real estate agent became the target of “troll storm” by white nationalists. We reported last month how the South Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Tanya Gersh, who was subjected to a “repulsive, threatening campaign of anti-Semitic harassment” directed by Andrew Anglin, proprietor of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website. Its own story on the lawsuit was headlined, “The Daily Stormer is being sued by Jewish terrorists. In order to survive, we need shekels.” The VICE report, with you can watch on YouTube, doesn’t add much to the story, but it includes some good interviews with Gersh, who continues to be harassed, and whose phone is still full of vile, obscene attacks on her and her Jewish heritage. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

New book corrals Waddell’s art, and a time and place, too


A few years ago, the painter and sculptor Theodore Waddell was thinking it might be time, five decades into a productive career as an artist, for a book-length retrospective of his work. The more he thought about it, though, the less he wanted a coffee-table book solely about his art. He wanted a book that would tell the larger story of the artists and writers and friends he had learned from and worked with, of the ferment and excitement of a particular time in history. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Montanans’ film explores side road to understanding


Marshall Granger was working at the Roxy Theater in Missoula when a friend and co-worker, Andrew Rizzo, asked an odd, simple question. “You wanna go shoot a documentary on a hallucinogenic toad down in Arizona and Mexico?”

The question was addressed to Marshall and another co-worker, Eddie Roqueta, and both of them, as it turned out, were interested in the idea. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , ,