Great Falls Tribune

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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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Papers go dark when news is about them


If you are still an old-fashioned reader of Montana newspapers published by Lee Enterprises, then you missed last week’s most intriguing story. News that Lee was closing its Capitol bureau this week and letting go two of the state’s most respected journalists, Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, appeared first on the front page of the Great Falls Tribune. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Second time’s no charm: Lee papers shutter State Bureau

The news is out that news coverage in Montana is taking a huge hit. Lee Newspapers is closing its State Bureau in Helena, the Great Falls Tribune has reported, and KXLH TV in Helena has a story that adds some details. Chuck Johnson, who has been covering Montana politics for more than 40 years, will take a buyout and retire. Mike Dennison, who has done the same kind of reporting for almost 25 years, will be taking a buyout while he looks for a new job. I couldn’t reach Johnson, but Dennison told me Lee offered the two veteran reporters continued employment—if they would accept quite substantial pay cuts. Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Good news, bad news & lipstick on a pig


There’s lots of news about the news in Montana, though some of it is rather old by now. The most surprising news, to me, is that the Montana Standard in Butte has hired David McCumber as its new editor. The Standard, where I landed my first newspaper job 35 years ago, has had a lot of editors in its long history, but for decades most of its editors have come from within Lee Enterprises, the Iowa-based chain that owns the Standard (and the Billings Gazette). (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Refining the Montana bucket list


Excuse me for being late on this, but I just discovered (on Facebook, the unsleeping recycler of pop culture) that the Great Falls Tribune published a Big Sky bucket list in December. The Tribune presented “100 activities every Montanan should have on a bucket list of things to do in a lifetime.” I found it impossible not to read the article from start to finish, and impossible not to keep a running tally of how many of the activities I had already done. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prey animals know which species to fear


I have this sneaking suspicion that a lot of wolf-haters deliberately say outrageous things solely in hopes of provoking reasonable people to anger, and therefore should be ignored. That’s what the rational part of me says. But I find it hard to be rational when my blood’s boiling, as it was last week when I read about the Missoula “man,” as he was described in news stories, who bragged on Facebook about deliberately hitting two wolves with his van. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Good column, great advice

Kristen Cates, the education reporter for the Great Falls Tribune, has written a brave, funny column on a sensitive subject. Here’s the best part, a perfectly succint, very useful piece of advice:
I’ve come up with this tip on when it’s OK to ask a woman if she’s pregnant:

• Never (unless you are in the labor and delivery room while she’s having that baby). I would even make sure you see the little head beginning to emerge before you ask. I am a dummy in countless ways, but my wife taught me well on this subject. Continue Reading →

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