Derek Brouwer

Recent Posts

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 →

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Independent looks at state’s newspaper landscape

What happens when a small town loses its local newspaper? Derek Brouwer, a former Billings Gazette reporter now working for the weekly Missoula Independent, attempts to answer that question in a front-page story published yesterday. He writes of the demise of the Bigfork Eagle, which went from independent ownership to becoming a property of Lee Enterprises (publisher of the Gazette, the Missoulian and a few other Montana papers) and then of Duane Hagadone, the owner of a regional media conglomerate. Along the way, Brouwer looks at the venerable Choteau Acantha, a much-respected little paper that has been publishing in Teton County for 123 years. (One of its editors was A.B. Guthrie’s father, and Guthrie worked there as a boy, in the capacity of printer’s devil, a term so old I’m not even sure what it means.)

The article covers a lot of familiar ground—Facebook is the new small-town newspaper, print is nearly obsolete, etc.—but from a purely Montana perspective. Continue Reading →

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Pistol-packing editor says gun was an antique


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. Continue Reading →

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