Missoula Notebook: Missoula Current welcomes The Electric to Montana Today

Montana Today added a third contributing news source to its team on Monday when we welcomed Jenn Rowell of The Electric in Great Falls to our daily e-news publication.

Rowell, a former reporter with the Great Falls Tribune, was laid off by Gannet – the paper’s owner – last October. As I did after leaving the Missoulian, she would spend her nights, perhaps sleeplessly, considering her next move, which led her to launch The Electric.

The site went live earlier this year. You can read about her efforts here.

As many of you may know by now, Montana Today represents a unique collaboration between the state’s independent news sources – independent meaning we’re not corporately owned, but rather we’re funded by readers like you and our local sponsors.

That collaboration began in January when Missoula Current asked Ed Kemmick at Last Best News in Billings to consider a mutual publication, believing it would help us reach new markets, gain new readers and access more content. You can sign up for Montana Today and Missoula Business Weekly here. You can also contribute here.

Missoula Current has funded the effort over the past six months while Sherry Devlin, a longtime editor and reporter, has assumed the leading role as Montana Today’s primary editor. Each morning, she curates the daily content from the Missoula Current and Last Best News for publication in Montana Today.

Our first issue of Montana Today went out January 16. For us at the Missoula Current, it was a fine improvement over our old method of distributing our daily content, and the results proved our early assumptions correct. It also marked a new era in the evolution of Montana’s independent news media.

To me, it means we’re coming together, we’re organizing and we’re growing stronger because of it. This benefits you, the readers who have made this all possible.

While there are now three independent news sites operating in Montana, I believe that number will grow in time as credible reporters launch new sites – reporters motivated by readers looking for something more, including local ownership, local news and local production.

For smaller news organizations like the Missoula Current, which doesn’t turn 2 until January, the collaboration between partners is not only a novel concept, it’s somewhat essential in today’s world of journalism.

There’s no way we alone could compete with the likes of the Missoulian, the Billings Gazette or the Tribune – each being an established brand that enjoys a multimillion-dollar operating budget and a corporate safety net. But as a team spread across three of the state’s largest cities, and with a growing list of readers looking for quality, change and locality, it’s beginning to look possible.

We have big plans at Missoula Current, and we have large ambitions for Montana Today. Because of that, we’re excited to welcome The Electric into the mix. In our world, three is hardly a crowd.