The Independent has promoted Lynne Foland, who came to the paper in 2006 as general manager, to publisher. She succeeds Matt Gibson, who is stepping aside after 12 years to focus on his duties as company president and editor-in-chief of Montana Headwall magazine.

Continue ReadingMissoula Independent Names New Publisher

In May, Matt Gibson plans to launch and edit Montana Headwall, a quarterly lifestyle magazine focusing on the state's outdoor recreation scene. Initial plans call for a distribution of 10,000 copies. Most copies will be free of charge but the magazine will cost $4.95 at certain locations like supermarkets and bookstores.

Continue ReadingMissoula Independent Publisher Launches Outdoor Magazine

At the Monday meeting of Missoula's city council, Independent owner and publisher Matt Gibson said he wants the city to be able to place its mandatory legal notices in the alt-weekly, rather than in a paid newspaper, the Missoulian reports. Gibson told the council that Missoula County places such ads in the Independent, and saves about $20,000 a year by doing so. The problem is that Montana law says cities must run the legal notices in a paid newspaper. Gibson told the council he'd like the Montana League of Cities and Towns to take up the matter during the upcoming legislative session.

Continue ReadingMissoula Independent Wants City’s Legal Notices

The Project for Excellence in Journalism recently posted comments about the future of alternative newspapers submitted by Richard Karpel, executive director of AAN; Matt Gibson, publisher of The Missoula Independent; Julia Goldberg, editor of the Santa Fe Reporter; and Alison True, editor of the Chicago Reader. The discussion is one of nine that were conducted via e-mail to supplement PEJ's report, The State of the News Media 2006, which was issued earlier this year. The four panelists share their thoughts on the New Times/Village Voice Media merger, the aging of the alt-weekly audience and the long-term outlook for mainstream-media organizations.

Continue ReadingPanel Discussion on Alt-Weeklies Available Online

Spurred by the lobbying effort of Missoula Independent publisher Matt Gibson, a bill extending legal-notice advertising to free-circulation newspapers passed the Montana state legislature yesterday. The bill must now be signed by Governor Brian Schweitzer to become law. Ironically, Gibson's primary opposition was the Montana Newspaper Association, for which he serves as a member of the board of directors. According to Gibson, a former member of the AAN Board, "AAN publishers need to be alerted to the practical reality that a periodical mailing permit, as commonly required in legal notice statutes, accomplishes very little to protect the people’s right to know. It does not ensure minimum reach or distribution, nor does it require independent verification of circulation. It's superfluous, and legislators can be convinced to change to law."

Continue ReadingMontana Close to Passing Legal-Notices Law

A couple of weeks ago Lee Enterprise's daily paper in Missoula changed the publication day of its weekend section and started to distribute it as a free, stand-alone paper. In a publisher's note, Missoula Independent's Matt Gibson says the move is "a transparent attempt by the Missoulian to impede the growth" of his paper, and calls it unethical, anti-competitive and "probably illegal". He promises that Lee is "going to find themselves in a fight so fierce and unrelenting, they’ll wish they’d picked on somebody their own size."

Continue ReadingAAN Publisher Says Daily Puts Bulls-Eye on His Back