My greatest sadness is seeing the institutions that define the West and exist primarily to keep an eye on government completely devolve into the new religious fundamentalism of social justice. You can't even get hired at a newspaper anymore without K-12 plus minimum 4 additional years of brainwashing from accountable government mommies, so the decline is really of their own doing. Unless you believe all this stuff or are pressured to comply, nobody is PAYING for this shit when it flows for free from every orifice of media, academia, law etc. Bullshit no one wants you mention? Let's check Lee Newspapers subscriber numbers for the past 20 years... (Sunday circulation 1999-2019 per Lee 10-Ks)
Here's Gwen, Keila and Sherry's greatest accomplishment. #GoWokeGoBroke as they say.
20 years ago 55k people had a subscription to the Billings Gazette. Today 23k do. That's a 58% drop in the number of people wanting to pay for the news. The numbers aren't pretty.
Billings Gazette 58% Loss of Subscribers (31,995 gone)
Helena Independent Record 30% Loss of Subscribers (4,352 gone)
Missoulian 57% Loss of Subscribers (21,623 gone)
Ravalli Republic 66% Loss of Subscribers (3,404 gone)
MT Standard 46% Loss of Subscribers (6,982 gone)
To be fair, the primary reason most reporters don't care about subscribers, despite the fact they are the 2nd biggest source of revenue traditionally, is because they think they all just started reading the newspaper online. While this is definitely part of the issue, I don't think it's anywhere near sufficient to describe the decline.
To put these numbers in BETTER perspective, realize that during the this time THOUSANDS more people moved into these areas. Here's the populations and changes of the counties these papers are in:
County 2000 Population 2020 Population Percent Change
Yellowstone 129,352 161,953 +25.2% (+32,601 people)
Lewis/Clark 55,716 70,402 +26.4% (+14,686 people)
Missoula 95,802 120,647 +25.9% (+24,845 people)
Ravalli 36,070 44,420 +23.1% (+8,350 people)
Silverbow 34,606 35,149 +1.6% (+543 people)
So, yeah. In the five counties where Lee has their largest newspapers, in the last 20 years they've lost a total of 68,355 print subscriptions while the counties they lived in added 81,025 new residents. Here's that number as subscribers/county population:
Town 2000 Marketshare 2020 Marketshare Percent Marketshare Loss 2000-2020
Billings 42.6% 14.3% -28.3%
Helena 26.1% 14.5% -11.6%
Missoula 39.5% 13.4% -26.1%
Ravalli 14.4% 4.0% -10.4%
Butte 44.2% 23.6% -20.5%
That's fucking nuts to me. 20 years ago FORTY percent of all people lived in a house in Missoula County that subscribed to the paper. Now it's less than 1 in 7. Almost FORTY FIVE percent of people in Butte got the paper delivered to their house in 2000. Now it's twenty percent.
A few things to note. I think the older Democrat populations of Helena and Butte have obviously staved off the hardest declines seen in other cities like Missoula. However, this doesn't mean they're not having problems. Helena still lost 5,000 subscribers and no business loses one-third of its customers and still considers it a good year just because the town over's store lost 22,000 customers.
So yeah. Let's give Gwen some more awards. If nothing else they've ruined their entire profession and almost entirely gave birth to right-wing media and Donald Trump's presidency.
Karma's a bitch I guess.
My name is Tim. I'm no longer invited to any parties. This blog is for Greg Strandberg and no one else.