If Ian Marquand was a little upset, he could be forgiven. The longtime television journalist and open-government advocate became the latest casualty of the economic crisis when KPAX laid him off Jan. 2, citing the recession. But he’s taking the high road.
“I’m really not bitter,” says Marquand, who first started with KPAX in 1978 and most recently served as the station’s special projects coordinator. “The company provided me a lot of really nice opportunities over the years and I had a good time working there. This is a new reality that’s come along and I’m accepting of it and I’m taking the opportunity to go to the next chapter.”
In addition to his time with KPAX, Marquand served as president of Montana’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and chairman of the Montana Freedom of Information Hotline. His departure is perhaps the highest profile media layoff during a stretch when numerous news organizations across the state are cutting back.
“There’s no question that when someone has been around as long as I have, there’s a level of experience and a level of institutional memory that goes along with that,” he says. “But it’s not irreplaceable. Nobody is irreplaceable. People in organizations are very adaptable, young people can learn new skills, young people will gain new experience. As long as you still have a core of people who know what they’re doing, you’re still going to be okay.”
Marquand says he’s still exploring his options in both academia and journalism. Wherever he ends up, he remains hopeful about the long-term future of the industry despite the recent cutbacks.
“Journalism will always be here because if we lost it, we’d find a way to reinvent it because it’s so necessary to our lives…,” he says. “We will always seek out ways to get that information and there’s going to have to be people to provide it to us. It may be in a different form than what we’ve been accustomed to but there will always be a need for journalism and journalists.”