Many of us get our news from the internet nowadays; however, whether you prefer hard copy or digital news, the weekly Bitterroot Star, the 5-day Ravalli Republic, and the daily Missoulian all provide coverage in both media on issues that affect the Valley. The Bitterroot Star is the Valley’s “only locally owned newspaper,” as opposed to the Lee-Enterprises-owned Republic and Missoulian. Star Editor Michael Howell writes, well-thought-out, in-depth articles and editorials on hot issues in the Valley, issues not always covered by the other two.
The Missoula Independent to quote them, “provides a popular antidote to the more conventional local media,” and claims it is the largest weekly newspaper in Montana. You can pick up a free copy on Thursdays at stands throughout western Montana or read it online. I find it offers an alternative viewpoint that is more often than not controversial, but never dull. The free Clark Fork Journal, published monthly, says it covers the “Interests of Boomers in Western Montana,” with a “balanced alternative to the daily buzz;” it’s available free at news stands. What more could you ask for in the way of coverage variety?
The Star is available free from news stands around the Valley or you can subscribe for $30/yr, and their internet content is free. In August, the two Lee newspapers adopted a metering system which states, “Much of our online site will remain free and open to all readers. There will be no charge to view the homepage or section fronts, all classified and retail advertising, videos and slideshows, blogs and contests.” Their policy continues, “”The meter will only be activated when a reader clicks on a news story. . . . After 10 free stories, they will be asked to subscribe.”
The tricky part begins when you want to follow comments on news stories. I called the Ravalli Republic to see how they handled access to comments and was told each time you click on Comments, it constitutes a news story click. For sheer entertainment you can’t beat the comments section. There are some very talented humorous, and serious, writers in the Bitterroot. No time at all and you’ve crashed the 10-times barrier.
If you’re a hard-copy subscriber to the Republic, you’ll pay $1/mo or $10/year; a non-subscriber will pay $3/mo or $25/yr. That’s pretty cheap for your daily/hourly dose of information, humor or vitriol. You can hardly buy a couple of paperbacks for that. Check with the Missoulian for their metering rate.