Montana Standard

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Lee trims staff at Montana papers, including Gazette


Lee Enterprises recently implemented another round of staff cuts at its Montana newspapers, including the Billings Gazette, the largest newspaper in the state. At the Gazette, it appears that at least seven people were laid off or agreed to take buyouts in recent weeks, including up to three people in the newsroom. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: In Anaconda, sadly, history repeats itself


The more things change…

My first full-time reporting job was in Anaconda, back in 1980. One of our neighbors, at the first house we lived in, was an ancient Italian woman who filled me in on a lot of local history. One story of hers I never forgot was about what happened in the old days when a worker died up on the hill, at the smelter owned by the Anaconda Copper Mining Co. Within a day or two, she said, a company lawyer would show up at the widow’s door with money and a piece of paper. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Clip file inflicts stab wounds from past


It’s a good thing I kept a clip file of everything I wrote in my newspaper career. If I hadn’t cut out every story and pasted it into a spiral notebook, I never would have remembered that the Sons of Norway, Ryvingen Lodge 136, had planned to meet at the home of Burton Colwell, at Spring Hill west of Anaconda, on the first Sunday of August 1979. (more…) 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: In our long winter, some warmth from Butte


Just when I thought the endless winter of 2013-14 was going to do me in at last, I was saved by a ray of sunshine from Butte, America. The sunshine was a story from the Montana Standard, published in the Billings Gazette, that was headlined: “Man accused of breaking into home, ordering porn — again.” (more…) 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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