As Pogie at Intelligent Discontent writes, the publisher of both the Helena IR and the Montana Standard, Randy Rickman, believes that the newspaper of Montana’s capital city doesn’t need independent editorial oversight – we can just share an editor with Butte.
Rickman’s high quality judgement and lack of political bias should not be doubted. After all, it was Rickman who realized that the capital city’s newspaper, the Helena IR, has no need to be a leading source of political news and government information. It’s either this or that the IR’s publisher either doesn’t want to get into the quicksand of having to actually understand the political and policy issues facing Montana, or perhaps he don’t have time (given the urgent market pressures to produce stories about stolen garden gnomes – a reporting fad from eight years ago, cat-finding beagles, and who could forget the groundbreaking investigative journalism that found “Loud Pop Caused by Fireworks.”)
Independent editorial management and oversight? What’s the point when you can just run press releases verbatim from the Montana Constitution Party. Or is it that without an editor, Rickman will find it easier to enforce his own political bent on the paper, something that will no doubt please the Congressman Rehbergs of the world.
It’s really an embarrassment to Helena.
All indications are that Montana’s capital city just isn’t that important – at least it is not as important as it used to be. Perhaps we should just get it over with and make Billings the capital city of Montana. At least Billings has its own newspaper.