Recent Posts

Gazette publisher named to lead Missoulian, too


Mike Gulledge was named publisher of the Missoulian and Ravalli Republic Wednesday as part of a regionalized management restructuring. Gulledge also serves as publisher of the Billings Gazette and as operating vice president for the Missoulian’s parent company, Lee Enterprises. According to a press release from Lee, “The move is part of a trend in Lee that includes regionalizing some operational aspects of the business, especially in markets that have similarities or are located near each other, while maintaining intense focus on local news and advertising.” This week, the Missoulian eliminated half of its daily news and feature sections, moving from a four-part paper to a two-part publication, eliminating a number of local stories and columns in the process. The daily editorial page dropped from two pages to one page on Monday through Friday, with two pages on Sunday. Continue Reading →

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Story spills the beans on former Missoulian editor


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


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


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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A sad look at the legions of older ex-journalists


I don’t want to be too depressing on a Saturday morning, but maybe if you never worked in the newspaper business this story will only be interesting, rather than terribly sad. It’s about how tens of thousands of older reporters, editors and photographers have been put out to pasture in recent years as the newspaper industry has withered with accelerating speed. Most of the examples deal with people who worked at much bigger papers than we have here in Montana, but their stories sound awfully familiar. One trend mentioned in the article is that women are being targeted disproportionately when it comes to layoffs. “One woman downsized from the Post,” the writer said, “told me that she ‘always got good reviews and often got raises’ in all of her years at the paper. Continue Reading →

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A fine farewell from a first-class journalist


Sherry Devlin put in her last day at the Missoulian yesterday, ending a remarkable 36-year run there as a reporter and editor. Her farewell column, posted this morning, is as well-crafted, gracious and heartfelt as one would expect. Much of it is devoted to recounting some of the really important stories she and her colleagues worked on over the decades, reminding us how vital, how irreplaceable, newspapers are. But my favorite part of the whole column was its shortest, simplest paragraph: “The work, and all the rigors it entails, has been a joy.” What a tremendous privilege to be able to say such a thing—and in the case of Sherry to mean it absolutely—about such a long career. Continue Reading →

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Missoulian photographer goes adventuring

Here’s a great idea from a great photographer: Kurt Wilson, who works for the Missoulian, is planning six one-week tours throughout Montana. His goal is to visit all of the 250-some historical markers in Montana and to photograph whatever catches his fancy along the way. The first batch of more than 100 photos went up last week, from his driving tour of southwest Montana. Years ago, Kurt went down to St. Petersburg, Fla., to attend a training session at the Poynter Institute, but instead of flying straight to St. Continue Reading →

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A fine tribute to a great newspaper reporter


Don’t miss this obituary on Missoulian reporter Betsy Cohen, who died Monday at 49. She worked for the Montana Standard in Butte and for the Missoulian from 1998 until her death. I only met her a few times and didn’t know her well, but I was impressed with her work. Having now read her obituary, I wish I had known her better. She was a great reporter and apparently a remarkable person, talented in so many ways. Continue Reading →

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