Just when the spectacle at the Independent Record seems like it couldn’t get more absurd, the story manages to get worse. Tomorrow, the paper, which represents Montana’s capital city, will announce the hiring of a brand-new managing editor to run the venerable community institution.
Given the staffing turmoil at the paper in the past few months, did Lee Enterprises and publisher Randy Rickman turn to some crusty veteran with experience in print and online media? Did they find an experienced hand to guide the paper through challenging times?
The IR’s new managing editor, Holly Michels, has almost half a decade of reporting experience at the Montana Standard and Ravalli Republic, and currently works as a night city editor at the Billings Gazette, a position she has held for little more than two years.
Now, it’s certainly possible that Ms. Michels will be an excellent editor, but her resume is certainly different than the IR’s last managing editor, who brought this experience with him to the IR:
Larcombe has been the editor and general manager of Montana Magazine for the past five years. Prior to coming to Helena, he worked for about 18 years at the Great Falls Tribune in a variety of roles, including reporter, photographer, business editor and regional editor. He worked as the Flathead Valley correspondent for the Missoulian newspaper for several years prior to joining the Tribune.
Experience matters, whether it’s a reporter covering a beat or an editor making critical news decisions. It matters for its impact on quality reporting and presentation.
It just doesn’t seem to matter as much as corporate profiteering.