OMG, are you OK?
We’ve received chocolates from a former Lee employee (thank you kindly), been treated to two cases of KettleHouse beer by a former contributor and longtime supporter (bless you, friend), gotten awkward hugs from near-strangers on the street (uh, thanks?) and had our sign defaced to read “dependent” (it’s funny cos it’s true, right?).
It’s like somebody died.
Listen: Nobody died.
But something certainly changed on the morning of Thursday, April 13, when word spread that Lee Enterprises—corporate owner of the daily Missoulian and a longtime favorite punching bag of (certain) local journalists and (some) readers—had purchased the Independent. Judging by the reaction on Facebook, the sky had fallen.
What are you going to do?
Staff speaking here: We get why you’re asking. Boy, do we get it.
We consider ourselves independent journalists, and we have allowed ourselves no small amount of pride in that designation. Editor Brad Tyer, who recently rejoined the staff after editing the Indy from 2002 to 2007, has only ever worked at alt-weeklies and nonprofit magazines. Erika Fredrickson, who’s been helming the Indy’s arts pages since 2008, came to the paper directly from the heart of the scene she covers. Reporter Kate Whittle, who announced her upcoming resignation weeks before the sale, has spent 5-plus years mastering just about every editorial job we’ve got. Reporter Alex Sakariassen, aiming for some sort of newsroom record, has been writing for the Indy since 2009.
And then there’s reporter Derek Brouwer, who in 2015 took a pay cut to leave…
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