March Bulletin

The Montana Newspaper Advertising Service is excited this month to announce the launch of an ambitious new statewide, quarter-page display advertising program. Called SQD (squid), the quarter-page ad will complement the SDAP, SCAN and SOAP programs and help sustain the Montana Newspaper Association as the news publishing industry evolves.

Like the SDAP, SCAN and SOAP networks, participation in SQD will be voluntary, but all MNA professional members should feel encouraged to support the association by participating. Joining the SQD program will be easy. Members simply need to commit to setting aside one quarter-page ad space each week to publish an ad. SQD ads will be constructed in both broadsheet and tabloid dimensions, making it easy for participants to float or resize them. For more information, follow the link under MNA News below and look for a followup email message from me later this week

In other news, we mourn the passing of Montana newspaper legend John Kuglin, who was instrumental in the creation of the Montana Freedom of Information Hotline. A big acquisition and local restructuring are making news at Lee Enterprises. And we’ve shared an admiring writeup from the News Media Alliance about the Sidney Herald’s dogged pursuit of police records. Enjoy.

Matt Gibson
Executive Director

March/April Calendar

Mar. 15-21: Sunshine Week

Mar. 27: University of Montana School of Journalism Job Fair

Mar. 27: Nomination deadline, 2020 Montana Newspaper Hall of Fame, Master Editor/Publisher Award and Distinguished Service Awards

Apr. 12: Easter Sunday

Apr. 15: Montana Corporation Annual Report filing deadline with the Montana Secretary of State

Apr. 17: University of Montana School of Journalism Dean Stone Awards Banquet

Apr. 24: MNA/MNAS board meetings at University of Montana School of Journalism

Apr. 30: Early bird deadline for MNA annual convention registration

(MNA Calendar)


MNAS launches new statewide quarter-page advertising program

The Montana Newspaper Advertising Service is excited to expand its advertising offerings to include a new statewide network offering quarter-page display opportunities.  This new program will provide advertising clients with an opportunity to get broad, statewide reach with a larger display size at a very reasonable cost. Called SQD (squid), the program will complement the SCAN, SDAP and SOAP programs, helping to sustain the MNA as the newspaper industry evolves. (MNA)


Nominations open for 2020 Master Editor/Publisher, Dick Crockford Distinguished Service Award, and Montana Newspaper Hall of Fame

Spotlight your fellow newspaper professionals for their accomplishments by nominating them for the 2020 Montana Master Editor/Publisher Award, the Dick Crockford Distinguished Service Award and for induction into the Montana Newspaper Hall of Fame. The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 27, 2020. To download the nomination forms, follow this link to the MNA website. (MNA)


Montana open records champion John Kuglin dies at 78

John Kuglin, a former Associated Press bureau chief for Montana and Wyoming who was a champion for open government and the public’s right to know, has died. He was 78. Kuglin oversaw coverage of some of the biggest stories to come out of Montana, such as the arrest of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski in 1996 and the FBI standoff with the anti-government Freemen that same year. (Helena IR)


Lee restructures Montana newsrooms around regional editor

Lee Enterprises announced that David McCumber, editor and general manager of The Montana Standard in Butte, will assume the role of regional editor, adding Billings to his oversight of news operations in Butte and Helena. (Billings Gazette)


Lee Enterprises acquires Berkshire Hathaway newspaper group

Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate has sold its 80 daily and weekly newspapers to Lee Enterprises. The acquisition promises to double Lee’s total audience. (Poynter)


Sunshine Week

On March 15, Sunshine Week, a project of the News Leaders Association and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, kicks off its annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and its significance for you and your community. Across the country, Sunshine Week is marked by panel discussions, workshops and other events about using and understanding freedom of information resources. To learn more about Sunshine Week and access special content created for the occasion, visit the website, where you’ll find op-eds, an idea bank, and a calendar of Sunshine Week events. (Sunshine Week)


Sidney Herald pushes successfully to receive complete arrest records

Challenging authority to ensure an informed and engaged citizenry is the bedrock of the journalistic profession. For Sidney Herald editor Amy Efta, that task came all too soon after taking her position at the local Montana newspaper. (News Media Alliance)


135th MNA Annual Convention set for June 12-13

The 2020 MNA Annual Convention has been set for June 12-13 at the Kalispell Hilton Garden Inn. Look for more details later this month as the convention program comes together.



Tech Experts say digital disruption will hurt democracy

About half predict that humans’ use of technology will weaken democracy between now and 2030 due to the speed and scope of reality distortion, the decline of journalism and the impact of surveillance capitalism. A third expect technology to strengthen democracy as reformers find ways to fight back against info-warriors and chaos. (Pew)


Marfa’s answer to the decline of local news: coffee and cocktails

New owners of the Big Bend Sentinel in Texas have transformed the newspaper into a community hub. (NYT)


Service journalism is having a moment

Service journalism is a new term for an old idea: giving readers good, practical advice — what to buy, where to go, how to do a certain thing — to make their lives easier. While service journalism shares the same standards of truth and fact-finding as regular reporting, it requires a different approach. The biggest shift: The reporter’s lens moves from the subject to the reader. (RJI)



Poynter’s Kristen Hare offers a handy compilation of online learning resources for journalists

What’s something you want and need to learn to be even better at your work? Maybe it’s a big idea thing like starting your own newsroom. Maybe you want to engage with your audiences better. Maybe you just want to make a GIF. Kristen Hare from the Poynter Institute has rounded up 10 guides and tip sheets that can help. (Poynter)


Think smaller in pursuit of advertising dollars but bigger in the variety of services

Community newspapers and shoppers are still the most effective way to reach a broad market. They also create consensus, cooperation and “hometown” pride. But community papers, too, also will have to change if they want to remain viable. (Peter Wagner)


Our mission is to advance and sustain the news publishing industry in Montana.