Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2016 10:25
This is issue number 952 of The Billings Outpost. It also may be the last.
At this writing, a chance remains that the paper will be resurrected in some fashion. But it will be under different management, with somebody other than me running the show. In the meantime, we are suspending publication.
I also am announcing here a partnership with Ed Kemmick of Last Best News to help produce one of the most imaginative and readable websites in the state. You can see our work together at LastBestNews.com beginning Feb. 1. You can read his work there now.
Deciding to go with his online publication rather than keeping this dead-tree newspaper alive was a no-brainer. The Outpost has history on its side. Last Best News has the future on its side.
But letting go of the Outpost was hard on much deeper parts of me than my brain. Eighteen years is a long time to do anything, and I have personally put every single issue of this paper to bed except one. With few exceptions, I have written every headline, edited every story, selected every photo.
Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2016 10:21
A few months before I launched Last Best News, I talked to David Crisp about a possible partnership. I was mostly joking, but only because I had no idea whether the online newspaper I was hoping to start could support one person, let alone two.
I thought the possibility was worth mentioning, though, because I knew that if I ever reached the point of being able to expand, there was no one I’d rather work with. I had known David as an editor and reporter at the Billings Gazette in the mid-1990s, and he was so good at both jobs that it was a little daunting.
His capacity for tolerating the worst aspects of corporate journalism was much smaller than mine, however, and he jumped ship in 1997 to start his own weekly newspaper, the Billings Outpost.
It was a good thing for the people of Billings, but it was hell on our relationship. I was vaguely aware that putting out a weekly paper was a time-consuming occupation, but David’s virtual disappearance came as an unsettling surprise.
No more sitting on my porch drinking beer and playing backgammon until even the mosquitoes had gone to bed. No more tennis at Pioneer Park, no more darts and shuffleboard at the Western Bar. Our frequent canoe trips on the Yellowstone River, supplemented by day hikes in the Pryors and other nearby spots, dwindled to an outing or two a year, at best.
Over the years we talked about working together again someday, but only in the half-serious way that people talk about what they’d do if they won the lottery.
Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2016 10:22