Missoula Current

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Happy birthday to Missoula Current

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Missoula Current, one of our partners on the independent online journalism scene in Montana, celebrated the beginning of its third year by posting a short video about what it does and how it does it. We are honored to be working with the folks at the Current and wish them all the best. Missoula, and the rest of Montana, is lucky to have them. Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Plenty to be thankful for in 2017

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Ordinarily, on this last Sunday of the year, I would post a tongue-in-cheek review of the past year, as I had done for more than 10 years at the Billings Gazette and for the past three years at Last Best News. I was inspired to do so by Dave Barry, as were legions of fellow obscure laborers in the vineyards of backwater journalism. We had the temerity to follow the master’s lead by telling ourselves we could get away with it by writing about local events, leaving the national and international scene to Barry. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Great Falls site joins independent online news team

Martin Kidston

Montana Today added a third contributing news source to its team on Monday when we welcomed Jenn Rowell of The Electric in Great Falls to our daily e-news publication. Rowell, a former reporter with the Great Falls Tribune, was laid off by Gannet—the paper’s owner—last October. As I did after leaving the Missoulian, she would spend her nights, perhaps sleeplessly, considering her next move, which led her to launch The Electric. (more…) Continue Reading →

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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

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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

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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

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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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