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Lee Enterprises, owner of the Missoulian, buys Missoula Independ - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Lee Enterprises, owner of the Missoulian, buys Missoula Independent

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MISSOULA -

It's a media sale that surprised many -- Lee Enterprises, the owners of the Missoulian, announced Thursday that it has purchased the Missoula Independent -- the city's weekly newspaper.

Independent Publishing president Matt Gibson is staying on as publisher and the Indy's current staff and reporters are staying too.

The Independent will maintain editorial control over it's weekly publication. News coverage and advertising are separate from the Missoulian's product.

It comes at a time when newspapers are forced to compete in an online market and fight for advertising dollars. Gibson says the small paper faced an uncertain future without some help. 

"The migration of ad revenue to online presents a challenge to all media businesses," Gibson said. "For us, as a small weekly in Missoula, we didn't have the firepower to innovate quickly enough and we needed a big brother.

"I hope independent journalism, I hope when they say it that means more than just who owns it. I hope it means a certain quality and courageousness to the coverage. It does not depend on who is writing the checks, it depends on the commitment of the staff." 

Copies of the Missoula Independent will still be free of charge.

It's first publication came in 1991 and is distributed in nearly 500 locations in Missoula, Ravalli and Lake counties.

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