A “Celebration” to Forget — Forecast for the Indy’s Coming of Age: Cloudy and Murky
On Saturday, the Indy is “celebrating” its coming of age. 21 years is almost as long as I have resided in the Missoula area, always respecting their devotion to their duty as an alt-weekly for the left. Yet how can the Indy celebrate — particularly just after canning its premier writer, George Ochenski? Or maybe the Indy is celebrating the purging of its most prolific free-thinking writer over those years. Go figure.
In any case, I’d urge folks to boycott the Indy’s celebration tomorrow. Better yet, pray for rain and cold winds to dampen its coming of age party. Because that is what the Indy has just done to free thinking in Missoula with its shift to the right and a new editorial policy: a dampening of free thought.
And expect Sunday’s hangover at the Indy to be filled with regrets over its actions, particularly once they start figuring out that the community is pissed with its new direction.
Expect much more from me and 4&20 in the future on the Indy’s sell-out to a less controversial — and less informative — style. There is no replacement for the work George has done over the years. His body of work at the Indy is irreplaceable, and unreplicable by any writer they might dig up to fill his shoes.
But for now know that some of us are exploring new avenues for journalistic expression in Missoula and across the state, now that we cannot rely on the Indy to do the deep digging necessary to keep those of us on the left informed. With the Indy’s unexplained actions, it has become more imperative that alt news sources spring forth to fill the gaps that the Indy’s purge will inevitably leave behind.
Update: Folks might want to remember that the Missoula Independent’s inception was inspired by the Missoulian’s firing of Dick Manning after he became too effective of an investigative journalist with his expose on clear cut logging in the region. Similarly, the canning of George Ochenski will inspire a new generation of journalists to move beyond the stodgy, ingrained attitudes of entrenched journalism like the Indy seems to exhibit under Meyerowitz.