Missoula Current

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Missoula Current overhauls website, marks success

We are happy to report that our partners in Western Montana, the people behind Missoula Current, are announcing all kinds of good news. In a column by founding editor Martin Kidston, we learn that Missoula Current has launched “a new and enhanced webpage offering a greater variety of stories, images and video.” It was already a good website, but now it’s even better, and easier to navigate. And like the website you’re reading at the moment, it is free of the clutter and maddening distractions one has to endure to read news stories just about anywhere else. Kidston also had this to say: “Last month—in what marked a new Missoula Current milestone—more than 60,000 unique readers logged on for a combined 104,000 pageviews. Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: A big loss for independent news in Montana

Funder

Even if you live in Eastern Montana and have never heard of, much less read, the Missoula Independent, you ought to be worried about the fate of that alternative weekly newspaper. The Indy, which has been around for more than 25 years, has had its ups and downs, but generally speaking it was a worthy successor to the underground and alternative newspapers that came before it, and which made Missoula the only city in Montana with a real tradition of that sort of journalism. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Independent journalism takes small step ahead in Montana

Regular readers of Last Best News already know that we have been collaborating with Missoula Current, an independent online newspaper that is filling the same niche in Missoula that we have been filling here in Billings. We have been sharing stories, giving each other advice and talking about other ways we can work together to promote and expand independent journalism in Montana. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Missoula groups push back against Nazi-inspired leaflets

Rabbi

It’s a Thursday morning at Har Shalom and the children are gathered for play. But the synagogue’s spiritual leader has taken to the library, where she’s thinking of ways to counter the emergence of Nazi-inspired literature in Missoula. Over the past few months, hate-filled leaflets with Nazi propaganda have appeared at area homes. While the drops have been sparse and seemingly random, they are nonetheless troubling in a community that prides itself on tolerance. (more…) Continue Reading →

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In Missoula, downtown living scarce and in high demand

Wilma

A well-appointed studio on the seventh floor of the Wilma Building in downtown Missoula went under contract three days after it was listed, never mind the asking price of $368,000. The quick contract punctuates what the unit’s agent described as a hot downtown real estate market, one where the demand for residential units is high but the supply is limited. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Forged letter used to attack refugee resettlement

Here’s an ugly twist in the immigration debate in Missoula, where there have been big rallies for and against welcoming refugees. Missoula Current is reporting that someone forged a letter, purporting to be from the three members of the Missoula County Commission, to the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. The three commissioners continue to strongly support the International Rescue Committee and to support plans to reopen a refugee resettlement office in Missoula, but in the forged letter they tell the bureau: “After further review, we don’t feel (M)iddle (E)astern cultures are compatible with our community values.”

The letter had a Great Falls postmark, which was a pretty good indication something was amiss, but as one commissioner said, news of the letter spread “some serious concern … throughout the community.” What a low move in an already unsettling situation, and what a revealing turn of phrase it was to frame the commission’s supposed opposition in terms of cultural bigotry. Continue Reading →

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Story spills the beans on former Missoulian editor

Rock

The Missoula Independent is reporting some details about the Missoulian editor who resigned earlier this week, after being suspended for bringing a gun to work. From the sounds of it, Matt Bunk’s brief tenure at the newspaper was such a disaster that his showing up in the newsroom packing heat gave the powers that be an opportunity to get rid of him with little fear of being sued again. Here’s the key paragraph: “Current staffers and former reporters who spoke with the Indy this week describe a newsroom that was nearing revolt against an editor who they say bullied reporters and routinely threatened their jobs during disagreements. Some say they expected further resignations, or even a walkout, had Bunk been permitted to return.” Much of the blame lies with Missoulian Publisher Mark Heintzelman, who hired Bunk seven months ago after demoting longtime editor Sherry Devlin, who later resigned and sued the newspaper for wrongful discharge. Continue Reading →

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Missoulian editor Bunk reportedly resigns

Bunk

The Missoula Current is reporting that Matt Bunk, the Missoulian editor suspended two weeks ago after bringing a concealed weapon to work in violation of company policy, has resigned. Martin Kidston, the founder of the Current, said his sources were newspaper employees and that no other information was available Monday night. As Kidston also reported, Bunk was named editor of the Missoulian only last August by publisher Mark Heintzelman. And Heintzelman had been on the job not quite a year himself when he hired Bunk away from a twice-weekly paper in Libby. Bunk was hired after former Missoulian editor Sherry Devlin was demoted, and she later filed a lawsuit in District Court, saying she had been unjustly demoted and replaced by a less-qualified male. Continue Reading →

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Pistol-packing editor says gun was an antique

M.B.

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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