Great Falls Tribune – June 28, 2015


The Great Falls Tribune building is looking more festive and our crew is in a celebratory mood as a new Gannett launches today.

I realize for most of our readers that raises reader question No. 1: What happened to the old Gannett?

CNBC watchers may catch the ceremonial ringing of the bell this morning by TEGNA employees, signaling the formal split of Gannett into two companies:

  • TEGNA, which is made up of the broadcast and online companies and
  • Gannett, which will be made up of the publishing units and their digital operations.

Great Falls Tribune Media is part of a new Gannett, which serves more than 100 markets in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has a digital audience of almost 100 million and 4.1 million U.S. print edition subscribers.

Based in McLean, Va., Gannett’s flagship paper is USA Today. The combination of having a national newspaper and journalists in local markets throughout the United States gives Gannett a unique advantage.

When national news breaks in a local market, we have journalists on the ground who can cover that news with local knowledge and perspective, in contrast to parachute journalism, where reporters drop in from outside the market. Gannett’s far-flung reporting team allows the Tribune to provide readers with a stronger national report online and in print.

The Tribune not only benefits from a national reporting force but also from the extensive digital expertise across our company that allows us to deliver rich online reports and next-generation solutions to our advertisers.

So, the next question on your mind is no doubt: What does a new Gannett mean for the Tribune, my local newspaper and digital news source?

Our local team and our commitment to covering and connecting with our communities is not changing. Team Tribune has more than 100 employees with almost 1,000 years — 998 to be exact — of experience covering and delivering the news and serving as this market’s No. 1 advertising source. New Gannett or old Gannett, our dedication to and love of Montana is unwavering.

We will continue to put our coverage emphasis on covering the topics most important to our readers, from education, to jobs, to local sports, to experiencing Montana’s outdoors.

And our commitment to watchdog journalism, from the steps of the capitol in Helena to Montana’s remote corners, continues as we investigate challenges and issues affecting Montanans.

One area we have ramped up in 2015 is connecting with community partners to improve our quality of life. The Tribune Community Connected efforts have made a difference in issues ranging from the serious, such as a forum for ideas to prevent child abuse, to the celebratory, such as sponsoring an awards ceremony for local youth athletes.

We also will continue to adapt the way we deliver the news to meet readers’ changing preferences. We deliver the news via print, e-paper, desktop, mobile phone, tablet and social media.

While print continues to be our largest audience, mobile is our fastest-growing audience. Our mobile traffic is growing at more than 125 percent a month. A couple of weeks ago, Erin Madison’s single story and photos about glamping — glamorous camping — generated more than 322,000 mobile views and 133,000 desktop views. Remember: Those numbers don’t include the reach of our print edition and widely popular e-paper edition, which regularly tops 2.5 million page views a month.

Gannett last week rolled out this purpose statement for our new beginning: “We are a next-generation company that empowers communities to connect, act and thrive.”

That’s right on the mark for the Great Falls Tribune. We’re proud to be part of that mission and are confident we will make an even bigger difference in the communities we serve in the months and years ahead.

Thanks for being a Great Falls Tribune reader.

— Jim Strauss is publisher and editor of the Tribune