The Great Falls Tribune is a shadow of its former self. Back in the day, it was the best paper in the state, routinely fielding solid reporters like Chuck Johnson, Mike Dennison, and John Adams. Today, it is short-staffed, has no editorial page, and has rapidly declining subscriber rates. Most print papers across the country find themselves facing similar issues. There is little doubt that the Tribune and many other papers will not be around in ten years. The question is what, if anything, replaces the daily local newspaper?
The good news is that local papers, mostly online and “free” (contributions and subscriptions encouraged), have been springing up across the state. These include The Flathead Beacon, Missoula Current, and here in Great Falls, The Electric. In addition, we now have two state-wide online papers, The Daily Montanan and Montana Free Press. Both of these papers have solid reporting and provide in-depth coverage of many issues. The Daily Montanan also has regular commentary and guest editorial content.
Check out these links for online papers and consider subscribing or contributing this holiday season.