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I feel threatened by our lack of newspaper coverage.

January 13, 2022
Dan Struckman

I’m troubled, a troubled man for troubled times. 

I wanted to read about A.B. Guthrie, Jr.. 

I wanted to read about the Montana Newspaper Guild Union, formed in the 1940s in Great Falls.  I wanted to read about the Great Falls Tribune which is, or was, owned by Gannett newspapers.  Trouble is, the articles I could find on line were sparse and didn’t tell me much.  I did find a recent piece about the Montana News Guild, an entity formed in Billings by the staffers of the Billings Gazette. The piece sounded like a cry for help from one drowning.

If I had a life ring, I’d throw it to the drowning victims of Big Journalism, such as the victims of Lee Newspapers.  We subscribe to the Billings Gazette, a Lee paper.  It gets scrawnier every month.  We have to walk farther and farther away from our porch to find the scant paper out on the driveway.  We even got a robot-call informing us that no contractor could be found to deliver our paper before the six a.m. deadline.  “Please don’t call before seven a.m.” said the robotic voice. I told the publisher I am mad as hell, but to no avail.

Okay, I get it.  We don’t get to have a morning manufactured newspaper in the future.  But what do we get?  We used to have a reporter who had the “cops and courts” beat.  A year or two ago, this reporter exposed the misdeeds of a couple of policemen who fucked the woman in charge of keeping the closet where the good stuff—the evidence—was stored.  The Gazette after some shifting from one foot to another, eventually disclosed the identities of the cops, but the reporter was the real hero. Who knows what’s happening now at the Billings PD?

Where is the hero now?  The current Gazette has hardly any police news.  Just whatever the department gives out, I’m thinking.

The good reporters are hunkered down somewhere else, or they retired early.  Our days of COVID are bereft of reporters and newspapers.

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