Billings Outpost

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‘Passed away’ sneaking into newspaper lexicon

D

I couldn’t get past this sports headline in the June 25 Billings Gazette: “Three-time NFR qualifier Bill Parker passes at 62.”

I didn’t know Bill Parker and mean him no disrespect. But “passes”? A quarterback passes. A point guard passes. Even an offensive lineman with a C-minus average passes. Continue Reading →

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David Crisp: After all these years, newspapers still needed

Adieu

Last week, I was asked to speak to the American Association of University Women about the meandering path that brought me to Last Best News. What follows is a condensed, and possibly improved, version of those remarks. To begin at the beginning, a long, long time ago, in a place far, far away, I was born. That beginning is more relevant than it may sound, because even before I really knew how to write letters properly, I was already self-publishing little family newsletters, commentaries and magazines, sometimes using little toy printing presses that my brother and I had. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: A moment for thanks, then back to work

Party

At the risk of alienating readers who think all reporters should be cynical toughs too jaded and jaundiced to indulge in social niceties, I’m afraid some thank-yous are in order. We threw our Last Best News party and fundraiser on Friday and I’m writing this on Saturday, exhausted and still a little stunned by how well everything went and by how damned much fun, reportedly, everyone had. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: On the edge of turning 2, happy b’day to us

Crier

Last Best News will be 2 years old Monday morning. We’re happy to report that Year Two was another good one. As I wrote on our first anniversary, we had 351,293 visits to the site in Year One, or just under 1,000 a day. In the past year, as of Saturday, we more than doubled that, with 708,672 visits, just under 2,000 a day. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Big plans for Last Best News 2.0—and we need your help

A few months before I launched Last Best News, I talked to David Crisp about a possible partnership. I was mostly joking, but only because I had no idea whether the online newspaper I was hoping to start could support one person, let alone two. I thought the possibility was worth mentioning, though, because I knew that if I ever reached the point of being able to expand, there was no one I’d rather work with. I had known David as an editor and reporter at the Billings Gazette in the mid-1990s, and he was so good at both jobs that it was a little daunting. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Remembering a time when passing remarks were free

The recent death of Billings Outpost columnist Roger Clawson created pause for reflection—not just about Roger—but life, death, obituaries and newspapering in general. The Outpost had a tribute to Roger as well as a formal just-the-facts-ma’am obituary. Outpost editor David Crisp’s account, and the obituary, appeared online via Last Best News even before the Outpost went to press. Later, Ed Kemmick of Last Best News published his own reflections on Roger. Neither charged a cent for the coverage. Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Clawson’s big heart, brilliant pen live on

Clawson

When the Billings Gazette hired me as a night editor in 1989, I was thrilled at the prospect of working alongside Roger Clawson. I had known of him since the mid-1970s, when I first started visiting Billings in the company of the Missoula Flying Mules, a gang of bar hounds masquerading as a hockey team. (more…) Continue Reading →

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David Crisp: Remembering Roger Clawson

Clawson

In his 1944 story about the death of Capt. Henry T. Waskow, probably the most famous piece of war correspondence since Thucydides, Ernie Pyle described a soldier who looked at the body of the fallen officer and said, “God damn it to hell anyway” before walking off into the darkness. I first read that line when I was barely a teenager, and I used it at times of tragedy and loss for decades before I realized where I had stolen it. It came to mind again this weekend, when my wife and I returned from an emergency trip to Texas to bury her mother only to learn that longtime reporter and Outpost columnist Roger Clawson had died. (An obituary is below this column.) (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Some history is not so easy to get over

Armada

I was unable to attend an all-day Native American Race Relations and Healing Symposium at the Billings Public Library two weekends ago. And then I didn’t see Stephen Dow’s story on the symposium in the Billings Outpost until a week after the fact, by which time I thought it was too late to run his story on Last Best News. (more…) Continue Reading →

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