Dear IR Readers:
As a veteran of 25 years in the newspaper business, I will likely be a print-edition newspaper reader as long as it’s available. I am concerned, however, just how long our local newspaper will be available in the traditional form, if at all. The corporation that owns our Independent Record and most other Montana daily newspapers has for years been squeezing every bit of profit, people, morale and energy out of its newspapers to cover massive debt incurred to fund lousy strategic decisions. That said, I think we should take a moment and thank the good folks at the IR for giving it their all to deliver us a local daily newspaper in such a constricted environment. I am not familiar with the data, but the newspaper staff and resources are dramatically less than when I was publisher of the IR in the mid-90s. Yet, the news staff still works hard to gather and report the news, the advertising staff is still helping local business, carriers still deliver to our homes in the middle of the night and the newspaper still does its best to support our community. We like to complain about our newspaper. That’s not new. Even in the best of times the “water cooler” talk was about our lousy local paper. Let’s just for a moment – during this National Newspaper Week – recognize the staff of the Helena Independent Record and their daily efforts to keep us informed and entertained.