I got home from work at 3 AM last night.
Instead of cracking open a beer I decided to check the news. One site I visited was Montana Free Press, and one of the posts I looked at was called MT Lowdown - Episode 5: The Dean.
It’s a pretty long podcast with John Adams asking questions of Chuck Johnson.
As many of you know, Johnson first covered the legislature in 1975, though he also covered the Constitutional Convention that took place three years earlier.
And can you believe it’s been nearly 4 years ago now that he and Mike Dennison were fired from Lee Enterprises? I covered that story here. Boy, time flies.
Anyways, this is one of the first sessions where Johnson isn’t covering the legislature (the Bozeman Daily Chronicle hired him to cover it in 2017).
But if you listen to that podcast, you’ll get to a section where Johnson mentions some questions he’d be digging into if he were still working as a reporter.
Mostly these questions have to do with the time right after the legislative session is over.
Here are those questions:
- How often is Governor Bullock gone from Montana?
- Is Bullock taking staff with him on these out-of-state trips, and are they using vacation time for that?
- Gianforte has his own airplane to fly back and forth to D.C., but what is the cost of that and what are the accounting procedures for that?
- Are Stapleton and Fox having a feud, and would their work emails tell us anything about that?
Well, as you can see the gauntlet has been thrown down.
These are good questions and they could make for some great stories.
I hope some of our local media types dig into them. After all, they are getting paid to report.
If they don’t do it - and I think the chances of that are very high - then I hope some of our unpaid bloggers dig into this.
Many times our bloggers show-up our media with their stories.
But let’s be completely frank here - neither the reporters nor the bloggers are going to be able to tell these stories if people in the capitol don’t help.
That means we need friendly sources that will tell us what’s going on.
There are fewer reporters in the capitol than ever, and we have fewer bloggers than ever.
It’ll take the help of concerned citizens for these stories to see the light of day.
So contact local reporters at NBC Montana, the various ‘K’ TV stations, Lee Enterprises, Gannett, as well as the main blogs - Reptile Dysfunction, MT Post, Flathead Memo, and this site here.