I had heard this rumor before I left on the trip, but didn’t want to spoil the good news that Mike Dennison is back to reporting about politics, taking over as the new chief political reporter for the Montana Television Network. While I admit I don’t have much interest in TV news generally, I’m definitely excited to learn that Mike will be, in addition to appearing on TV, writing for the MTN web site. It’s great news that we’ll be able to look forward to some more of the in-depth work Dennison provided for the Lee Papers before they decided to invest more in people who make slideshows for their web site.
It seems the decision to abandon news reporting hasn’t had the effect Lee wanted on its chain as its stock continues to plummet, reaching a low of $2.05/share today. That’s a steep decline from a value of $49/share back in 2004, and no doubt the kind of news that will lead to another round of bonuses for the corporation’s leadership.
Dennison leaving, and then being hired by MTN is another sign that our local papers are dying in front of us. It might save in the short-term to keep cutting the newsrooms to the bone, but pretty soon there won’t be any value left at all in these papers, as readers can likely get the news, better, faster, and more accurately elsewhere, from blogs and places like MTN. For a world that has always sneered a bit at both online and TV media, it has to be hard to accept that print is being eclipsed by both.
Of course they’ll always have the slideshows.
Congratulations to Mike—and we all look forward to your work appearing soon.