An Epically Short-Sighted Move at Lee Enterprises


The Independent Record is confirming what has been rumored around town for the past 20 hours or so, that Lee Enterprises has decided to consolidate the editorial staffs of the Montana Standard and Helena Independent Record, placing both papers under Standard editor Gerry O’Brien.

That means that one of the state’s oldest newspapers, and the one serving the state capital, will no longer have a local editor. The news release from Lee papers offered a typical example of corporate bureaucrat-speak to explain the move:

Rickman noted that combining management positions between the two companies was a way to “cut costs while still producing the same strong results for our customers.”

In more direct terms, we’re not making enough money for our shareholders and reporting the news isn’t really that important to us after all.

I’ve been as critical of the Independent Record as anyone—at least online—but this latest decision underscores the fact that many of the problems the IR and other newspapers are facing is driven by corporate greed and mismanagement. When there aren’t enough reporters to cover the news or editors to manage them or even copyeditors to review the text of stories, all the news—and  even all the important news—simply won’t get covered.

You don’t fix a failing product by cutting back on essential services. You don’t fix a newspaper by making its staff feel that each of them could be the next one unceremoniously shown the door.

That a newspaper which practically enjoys monopolistic control over the news in a town can’t squeeze out enough profit to satisfy its corporate owners says much more about the publisher than it does about the editor—and this latest move only confirms that.

Under Doran’s leadership, the IR offered the best example of investigative, critical journalism that I can remember from the IR in the long overdue stories about St. Peter’s Hospital. He trusted his reporter to follow a complex, costly story and that trust led to a better informed community.

There is already a great deal of speculation about what prompted Rickman’s move, but one thing is quite clear: the staff at the Independent Record, the legacy of the newspaper, and the community as a whole simply deserve better than what Randy Rickman and Lee Enterprises have given us.

If you appreciate our efforts to hold Montana Republicans accountable and the independent journalism here at The Montana Post, please consider supporting our work with a small pledge.
Join a discussion of this (and all of our post) at our Facebook community page.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


Click here to post a comment
  • Denna guide hjälper dig med utvälja ett bra och billigt webbhotell. Ett flertal webbhotell har mycket att bjuda på samtidigt som andra sorgligt nog använder oärlig marknadsföring för att locka så många kunder som möjligt, som sedan skapar problem för kunderna.

  • What¡¦s Taking place i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & aid different users like its aided me. Great job.

  • I genuinely enjoy your site, but I’m having a problem: any time I load one of your post in Firefox, the center with the web page is screwed up – which is bizarre. Could I send you a screenshot? In any event, keep up the superior work; I undoubtedly like reading you.

  • Thanks for any other fantastic post. The place else may anyone get that type of information in such a perfect way of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the search for such info.

  • I need to point out my appreciation for your generosity supporting women who definitely want help with this question. Your unique commitment to passing the answer throughout was remarkably functional and has continually helped associates just like me to attain their ambitions. Your wonderful warm and helpful suggestions signifies this considerably to me and especially to my colleagues. Best wishes; from everyone of us.

  • Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My blog covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!

  • I as well as my friends have already been looking at the nice tactics from the blog and immediately I got a terrible suspicion I had not thanked you for those secrets. Most of the ladies appeared to be consequently very interested to see them and have now pretty much been tapping into these things. I appreciate you for genuinely considerably accommodating and also for settling on this form of tremendous subject areas millions of individuals are really desperate to be informed on. My personal sincere apologies for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

  • Resources these as the 1 you mentioned here will be incredibly helpful to myself! I’ll publish a hyperlink to this page on my personal weblog. I am certain my site visitors will come across that fairly useful.

  • Very interesting points you have remarked, regards for putting up. “Whatever we conceive well we express clearly, and words flow with ease.” by Nicolas Boileau.

  • Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any help is very much appreciated.

  • Good blog! I truly love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day! “You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.” by Eric Hoffer.

  • I’ve located your article very informative and interesting. I appreciate your points of view and I agree with so numerous. You’ve done a great job with producing this clear enough for anyone to comprehend.

  • I enjoy you because of all of your work on this blog. Kate take interest in managing internet research and it’s easy to understand why. A lot of people hear all relating to the powerful ways you produce very important solutions through this blog and welcome participation from some other people about this article plus our favorite princess is learning a great deal. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. You are carrying out a useful job.

  • Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any helpful hints for novice blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  • I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks

  • Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything. Nevertheless just imagine if you added some great graphics or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this website could certainly be one of the best in its field. Great blog!

  • I want to show my thanks to you just for rescuing me from such a predicament. Because of looking throughout the world wide web and coming across thoughts that were not helpful, I thought my entire life was effectively more than. Living without the approaches towards the issues you’ve solved as a result of your main guide is a crucial case, as nicely as the kind which could have adversely damaged my career if I had not noticed your internet page. Your actual skills and kindness in dealing with all of the stuff was crucial. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had not come upon such a step like this. I can at this time appear ahead to my future. Thanks so a lot for the impressive and effective assist. I will not be reluctant to recommend your web web sites to any individual who need to receive guidelines on this difficulty.

  • I’m typically to running a blog and i really admire your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web site and keep checking for brand spanking new information.

  • Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any points for first-time blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

/* ]]> */