Mad Missoulian Sues Defectors and Other Stories
by William Skink
If this sounds like a set-up for a Mad Men episode, don’t blame the Missoulian. The paper exists solely for passing cash up to the bosses, and it’s not in the interest of the Lee overlords to report on how it’s toxic work environment has bred defectors jumping ship with alleged proprietary material.
David Crisp covers how the story of Lee Newspapers closing its Capitol bureau wasn’t covered by Lee Newspapers. News spread instead via social media. Ed Kemmick slightly amends Crisp by acknowledging the Billings Gazette did at least run two guest editorials and a letter to the editor.
And now we have the juicy account of a demoted publisher leading a coordinated defection from the Missoulian. Reported by David Erickson, writing for…the Missoulian. Go get ’em, Tiger!
In a civil lawsuit filed Tuesday in Missoula County District Court, Lee Enterprises Inc. seeks a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Jim McGowan, Tia Metzger, Brooke Redpath, Tara Halls and Megan Richter.
Their conduct is allegedly “continuing to cause immediate and irreparable injury to Lee Enterprises,” the lawsuit contends. It also accuses the former employees of deliberate and malicious conduct and of violating several Montana laws, including the Trade Secret Act.
Thems fighting words. And frankly, the whole scenario just heightens the absurdity of what our local media has become.
But weight, it gets even more ridiculous.
I clicked over to ID and read Pogreba’s reaction to the Independent Record trolling him so hard it’s like he’s been sucked down the rabbit hole:
Today the daily paper of record in Helena—part of the same chain that can’t afford to pay its top political reporters salaries commensurate with their experience—put on its web page a slideshow called Ranking the best facial hair in Montana political history.
Among the featured politicians were eminent politicians like Wm. Clark, Marcus Daly, Jon Tester and more.
The only catch about the slideshow (aside from the fact that the paper has the resources to “cover” this but not the statehouse) is that last Friday, I posted my own slideshow called “the best facial hair in MONTANA POLITICAL HISTORY” in an effort to satirize the direction the Lee papers seemed to be embracing. Nine minutes of work later, I felt like I had captured the direction of a news chain more interested in Facebook shares than real reporting.
It’s hard to understand what motivated the IR to post their homage to my work today. Did someone at the Independent Record read my story and actually think to himself that it was a good idea for a story? Worse yet, did someone independently come up with the idea? Is the IR giving up its waning credibility to troll me?
Trolling bloggers, litigation against defectors…is this what our local media has become?
This morning there are sketchy reports that Sheri Devlin, the Missoulian editor, is part of the Lee Newspaper purge. I guess the hits just keep coming. Stay tuned…