Missoula Independent Closure – Employees Locked Out, Alarm Raised After Stories ‘Vanish’
John S. Adams currently works as a journalist for the Montana Free Press, where he has been covering the closure of the Missoula Independent that happened this morning, September 11. Adams got his first job in journalism at the Indy and said that “It’s a sad day whenever we lose another voice in the journalism community.” He is also raising concerns about the history that may have been lost because of the way Lee Enterprises handled the closure.
"If you try to log on to the Missoula Independent website you are redirected to the homepage of The Missoulian, which was, up until recently, the Indy's main competitor there in Missoula," Adams said. "Links to Missoula Independent stories are no longer viable, those links now take you, again, to The Missoulian homepage. It's very troubling to those of us in the media world, and anyone else that cares about journalism and history, to see an entire 25 year archive of news stories suddenly vanish from the internet."
Adams says he spoke with Derek Brouwer, a staff writer for The Indy and a member of the News Guild Union that was formed in March. Apparently the doors at the Indy were locked on Tuesday morning and the only warning employees had was an early morning email.
"When he looked at his phone, he saw that he had an email, the email was sent from Lee Newspapers' Regional Human Resources Director informing him that The Independent was closed, that the staff were not to try to enter the building and that if they wanted any of their personal belongings back they would have to contact a Lee Newspapers representative and they would mail their belongings back to them," Adams said.
Adams says that Tuesdays would typically be the day that the final touches were put on the weekly edition of The Independent so they could “put it to bed,” instead of having the opportunity to put the finishing touches on a final paper Lee Enterprises chose to put an end to The Independent’s story all together.