Stop whinin'! Stop complainin'! Stop cryin'! Every major city in America faces far worse rail issues than Missoula's Montana Rail Link.
Ever been to the industrial Midwest? Try Gary, Ind., where there are more crossing gates that overpasses. Try Columbus, Ohio, where a rail accident could shift the flow of the Scioto River. Try New Orleans, where 100-car freight trains carrying hazardous materials pass through the French Quarter and many neighborhoods daily.
The story is the same throughout America. From Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon, every city has to face what you're experiencing. Funny but the rails were here before we started building next to them. They also happen to still be there where many have decided to leave.
This country was essentially built around the railroads, but years of policy allowing them to run wild have put us in the predicament we're in.
We have only ourselves to blame.
Befuddled and MerryHobbit: Your counter arguments that the paper is too far right and too far left indicates the newspaper is actually doing its job. I found it to be somewhere in the middle. Travel some to the north and it's a different story.
Part of the Missoulian's problem is how it responds to its readers. While I was editor of a small weekly in Northwest Montana, I attempted to contact Ms. Devlin several times, to no avail. These were both professional inquiries and those of a reader. That seems to have been a microcosm of the bigger picture - daily newspapers have essentially lost the connection with their readers.
Lee Enterprises, as have the other large chains, has suffered circulation drops of enormous proportions. It probably started with the giving away of the editorial product, then attempting to charge for something that used to be free. Think cable television.
I've worked for seven dailies, and all but two, the Des Moines Register and the Columbus Dispatch, are but shells of their former selves. One has even gone tabloid.
Dailies need to go back to the fundamentals as they blend in the new technologies. Returning readers' telephone calls is a good place to start.
I am contemplating a move to Missoula from, of all places, New Orleans. Yes, the same New Orleans that just had a parade for the Super Bowl LXIV Champion Saints, the same New Orleans where jazz was born.
This venue sounds like a gem. I only wish I could be there for Dena DeRose. I'm a big fan.
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