What has happened to the Miles City Star?
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Posted by MRH (+1500) 11 years ago
Periodically, I will grab a sharp stick and do a poking just to see how folks will respond, and this is one of those instances. I have been reluctant to write, because I did not want to hurt any feelings. However, I take both the Miles City Star and the Billings Gazette, and often read the happenings on Milescity.com. It is alarming to me to read things in the Gazette and on this site, and never see them mentioned in the Star, or they are mentioned only after they are covered in the Gazette. I am talking about things that happen in Miles City. What does the staff of the Star consider news worthy? I can give examples if you like, but I'll leave it at this for now, and see if anyone else is concerned.
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Posted by Christen LeBlanc Ramsey (+271) 11 years ago
mrh there have been a few threads on the subject of the star on this forum. as a non-resident, my beef has usually been with their crappy website. it has periods, sometimes long, of no updates. or like your issue, not covering relevant, news worthy items that one would read about in the gazette, or here on this glorious forum.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2305) 11 years ago
Yep. I have the same beef. The Miles City Star covers "news", but most of the paper doesn't even have news from Miles City itself. Most is US news, or entertainment or crap. Maybe 2 pages of Miles City News, if that.

Also, I agree their website just sucks. And I'll say that it does to their webmaster. It's rediculous. If they don't have time to do it, hire someone to do it for them daily, hourly, up to the minute. Make the Star a GOOD information source.
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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1437) 11 years ago
3..2..1...
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 11 years ago
Finances, Josh. In business there is a thing called finances. The website is run from Livingston, not here, for starters. All they do here is update. In case you aren't following the news, there has been a financial downturn. Newspapers are supported by ad revenue. When businesses cut expenses, guess what gets cut?

As for having non-local news! Heavens! I hate to tell you but many people do depend on newspapers for in-depth state, national and international news. And if it was just local news, it would be a flyer.

What do you mean by not covering the news? They cover city and county government. School board. Crimes. Fires.

You need to be specific if you want the editor to respond. Saying vaguely that something wasn't covered is useless. WHAT do you want covered? WHAT is lacking.

Reporting requires details. Who, what, when, where and why. Complaining requires details, too.
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Posted by MRH (+1500) 11 years ago
What do you mean by not covering the news? They cover city and county government. School board. Crimes. Fires.

You need to be specific if you want the editor to respond. Saying vaguely that something wasn't covered is useless. WHAT do you want covered? WHAT is lacking.


I knew I could depend upon you for a response. Note that I said 'sometimes' after it appears on this site or in the Billings Gazette.

Two examples that recently caught my eye, some accidents, but particularly the one involving the family from Miles City on the way to Billings for treatment, and just a note or heads up would have been good to let folks know about the graffiti in town.

Maybe the Star is not getting the news delivered to them, on that I can't comment, as I do not know the process. As I said, I was just poking around to find out what others thought.

Thanks for 'at least' responding.
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Posted by Steve Allison (+981) 11 years ago
The graffiti incident had a front page story with photo.
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Posted by MRH (+1500) 11 years ago
The graffiti incident had a front page story with photo.


Yes Steve, I agree, but I think that was a day later. I guess I expected at least a note that evening, just giving folks a heads-up to the fact that it happened. Pardon me, if I am off on my timing.

Fire away, this is my last post on the matter. I just wanted to make you and others aware, that I was wondering what was happening. I think overall the paper does a good job, but just noticed a few things lacking or lagging behind the forum and the Billings Gazette, and as I asked, wondered what was happening.
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Posted by Steve Allison (+981) 11 years ago
You are right there are problems putting ink on paper. First we can not be instantaneous like posting on the web. Second we are a business so we can be sued on things we print. Think back to postings that turn out to be wrong, like alligators in the Yellowstone. We have to wait for official reports and documentation. When something like the Winkley accident, happen in other counties, other news papers get official reports sooner then we can. We also differ from the Gazette. We do not publish on weekends and we are an afternoon paper not morning. This creates deadline problems. Our dead lines are inside sections are 11 AM front page section 2PM. Gazettes start at about 9 PM night before the paper comes out. Take the announcement that the MCC baseball coach was taking a new job. The decision and information came out at around 4PM Friday. The Gazette could run it Saturday morning, we could not until Monday afternoon. Occasionally big things happen between midnight and 2PM and we get to run them first, but a lot of news sources time announcements for morning papers deadlines.
This is NOT intended to be a rant at your concerns, just some information for you and others to help them understand some of our problems, that we are aware of them and are trying to deal as best we can.
Thank you for your concerns and lessening to my explanations.
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Posted by David Schott (+17052) 11 years ago
Steve points out very good reasons why the Yellowstone Newspapers Company would be wise to take its websites more seriously.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2305) 11 years ago
Ok. So I can't blame the local star, I have to blame livingston. Can do.
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Posted by Forsyth Mike (+475) 11 years ago
I also wish the Star's website was more up-to-date. The Sidney newspaper's site is always current and that town is smaller than Miles City, isn't it?

I do think many small papers put the website on the back burner. Clearly, it's not going to be a revenue maker like a big city paper's site could be -- and it's possible that some subscribers might go to just reading for free on the web. Marketing the paper is what's needed -- give people stuff in the paper that they can't get on the web. (An increasingly difficult job.

Bottom line, if the paper can't afford to have the site be kept up, they should probably just discontinue it. That's better than having it be way out of date -- makes the paper look bad.

Our local weekly here has no site at all, but in a way I guess that could be a good thing -- makes me more anxious to see the paper when it comes out!
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Posted by David Schott (+17052) 11 years ago
"Forsyth Mike", can't you turn to www.forsyth.com for the latest "news"?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14950) 11 years ago
Opportunity is knocking. Who will answer the door?
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Posted by Jim Birkholz (+186) 11 years ago
@Forsyth Mike: Have to disagree about old news being worse than no news, at least for us ex-pats, anyway. I probably get more news here than the Star's online presence, but I do occasionally visit the Star's site.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 11 years ago
I've never read the Star for the news.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 11 years ago
Since LIVINGSTON fixed the problem allowing Miles City to log on, the website has been updated daily.

The print edition is what pays the bills so it gets the emphasis. 'Tis such in all businesses.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2305) 11 years ago
Amorette, Not true. It seems like the Billings Gazette can keep up with it just fine and publish every story on their website. It's just a matter of having advertising space on a constantly up to date site.
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Posted by tej (+14) 11 years ago
I really enjoy the Focus on Friday. Don and Amanda are doing a great job. Keep it up you two!!
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Posted by Steve Allison (+981) 11 years ago
Just Remember the Gazette is part of the Lee chain one of the country's biggest. Kind of comparing apples and oranges.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 11 years ago
As someone who has dealt with a lot of small circulation/weekday only newspapers, I have to say that the STAR does an incredible job of running public notice ads and articles to provide advance notice of upcoming events, and their reporters do an incredible job of providing in-depth coverage following those events. It's easy to understand why it would take a week or two to write up an in-depth story. So, I'd like to give the entire staff, from Dan and Marla on down through the masthead, a hearty pat on the back.

Like MRH, I have noticed that it seems to take an unusually long period of time for the STAR to get straight news articles into print - so I fully uderstand his concern. Perhaps this thread will inspire the STAR to figure out a way to reduce the straight-news time gap. Or maybe nothing will change because the STAR staff might already be getting things reported as quickly as possible given the constraints that Mr. Allison identified above. Either way, I'm very glad that Miles City has such a dedicated group of reporters and editors keeping the rest of us in touch with what's happening.

THANK YOU STAR STAFF! Keep up the good work.
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Posted by Frank Hardy (+1606) 11 years ago
The preceding editorial will appear in the Star in 17 days.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+14950) 11 years ago
Frank:
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Posted by Bob L. (+5094) 11 years ago
Just Remember the Gazette is part of the Lee chain one of the country's biggest. cheapest. Kind of comparing apples and oranges.



Your point is valid, though.
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Posted by Bart Freese (+926) 11 years ago
I agree with Richard about opportunity, but think of the effort it would take to come up with the news (not make up the news, although Mark Twain did very well in that department), put together the web site, and then sell advertising for it to make money. I toyed with the idea once, but then came to my senses.

I agree there can be improvement at the Star -- that goes for anywhere and for anybody. I admit I'm very pro-Star having found the food on my table and clothes on back when growing up paid for largely be the Star (and the hard work of my mother). I also loved growing up around the excitement and noise of the Star and the wonderful people like Jean Freese, Sue Connors, Pat Gudmunson (did I spell that right?), Gordy "El Gordo" Spear, George Larson, Erma Bombeck (okay, she was a syndicated columnist), and the many fine and fun folks in the back room, print shop, and the store. I loved the noise.

We are very fortunate to still have a daily paper.

So, help the Star improve. When you shop, say "I saw your ad in the Star." Pay for three or more subscriptions. Okay, that might push it, but keep subscribing. I quit getting the Sunday Gazette as I really felt they should pay me for taking it and all the ad inserts -- those inserts did little for me in Miles City, but the Gaz. could tell advertisers how many and how far their reach is.

Not to get too personal, but let me say from experience, working for the Star is not a way to get rich. It is a mission to the cause of providing news coverage for today and a historical record 100 years from now.

[This message has been edited by Bart Freese (8/13/2010)]
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 11 years ago
Geez Richard and Frank - what's the matter with you guys. I love your humor, but if ANYTHING nice gets said on here, you two cynical ninnies are all over it like white on rice. Take a break, why don't ya?
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Posted by Herbie (+115) 11 years ago
Josh, You like to blame the Star on there web site. How about KYUS and KMTA, there web site is below average. I think we had a talk about this before. Why doesn't the station step up and get local news and sports on there pages?
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Posted by Forsyth Mike (+475) 11 years ago
@David Schott -- forsythmt.com isn't a news site, it's just a chamber site listing businesses and events. Stuff like "the Town Pump got broken into last night" would never appear on there (which is too bad, it might increase traffic!)
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Posted by Frank Hardy (+1606) 11 years ago
Steve,

No offense intended. I don't take very much seriously on this site and post accordingly. If I have caused you or anyone upset, I apologize.

Cheers!
FH

PS- There was NO need to play the rice/race card!
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Posted by David Schott (+17052) 11 years ago
Forsyth Mike, that's what Forsyth is missing -- a good "party line" style gossip site like this one. At least Forsyth has a kick butt movie theater, or so I'm told.

Steve/Frank H... rice... I've heard that brown rice is better [for you].
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 11 years ago
Hardy said: "PS- There was NO need to play the rice/race card!"

Damn, you're GOOD!
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Posted by BLT (+92) 10 years ago
There are news happenings everyday in Miles City. You just need to drive around and look. The photographer mainly likes wildlife and children shots for the paper.

We used profile people occassionly who had moved to miles city like Mcc teachers or new doctors. Maurices are moving sometime into their new building, they are working on it now. City crew has been woerking on potholes etc,

How about better coverage of council meetings, school boards, people runinng for those slots, have anybody filed. Lots of news in this town, they just need to leave the building. Lots happens in the evening. yeh I know that would be after hours.

Just my take, paper is usually read in 6 minutes
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
They cover the city council meeting, usually in a series of front page stories, and the school board meetings. Reporters are frequently out and about, doing interviews and attending meetings, but they don't wear hats with press passes in the bands so you may not recognize them. Focus on Friday is a weekly full page feature.

Do remember, the newsroom consists of six people, one of them the sports writer, and the editor. Believe it or not, they can't work 80 hour weeks and be everywhere.

If a specific event was not covered, it was probably because the Star didn't know about it. We frequently drive around and Steve sees something and mentions it was too bad no one told the Star about the activity because then it might get some coverage in the paper. The folks at the Star are not psychics so they do need to be TOLD if your group is doing something.

[This message has been edited by Amorette Allison (4/3/2011)]
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Posted by boxdmc (+89) 10 years ago
It's a shame that the Star staff need to be TOLD that an event is taking place. Clark Kent always knew what was going on!
I have to say that I think the Star writers do a great job!!! From the outside looking in and keeping a listening ear to the ground it seems that the Star problem is the management and probably not the local management. It's a shame that reporters can't report on an arrest, or citation until they've been convicted because of the threat of a lawsuit. I say put the police report in the paper as it used to be. And yes, I'll be in it occasionally.
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Posted by spacekace (+896) 10 years ago
I <3 the Bozeman police reports! They are the highlight of that newspaper! There's an actual fan page on FB for it...
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Posted by Joe Tech (+8) 10 years ago
Well, if it mean's anything to the MC Star folks, I am an avid webmaster and would be happy to re-locate up there and spice up the online website.
My wife and I enjoy Miles City every summer. We've always thought about how we could make a transition.

Any thoughts?
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
The web site is handled at the head office in Livingston. People often forget that although the Star is the largest of the Yellowstone Newspapers, the "flagship" paper is the Livingston Enterprise and the major decisions are made in Livingston.
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Posted by Tom Masa (+2042) 10 years ago
What's wrong with the web cam? Where's Josh?
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