Does it seem like there’s been more bad news than good this year? More negative reports than positive notes for Montanans?
Along with the rest of the nation, Montanans have watched as hurricanes devastated cities and wildfires ravaged neighborhoods in other states. We mourned the victims of the deadliest mass shootings in this country’s history. And we worried as federal policy changes threatened the health and happiness of our fellow Americans.
In Montana, residents have borne witness to budget crises at both the local university and at the state capitol. Sandwiched between the regular session of the state legislature and the special legislative session earlier this month, we also endured a special congressional election in May and regular municipal elections on Nov. 7.
The state budget crisis and special session were caused in part by a summer of record-setting wildfires that choked our valleys with smoke and claimed two young lives.
And yet, it seems that for every tale of misfortune and hardship, there has been a heartening response that tells a larger story – of community spirit and individual generosity.
As difficult as the bad news is to bear, western Montanans remain committed to paying attention – to election results, to the effects of public policy and to the needs our neighbors. We go through it all together, as a community.
This week, the Missoulian learned that we had been recognized as one of four Lee Newspaper for excellence in news coverage. Your local newspaper received an honorable mention in the President's Award category for our coverage of this summer’s stunning wildfires – and the response to those fires.
The recognition was earned, according to the judges, because the Missoulian’s newsroom "pushed out stories, photos, videos, and galleries to all platforms designed to help readers stay safe in the face of fast-moving fires, stay healthy in the choking smoke, understand why this fire season was so intense, and learn more about the two firefighters who lost their lives battling the blazes.''
We feel it’s only right to share this recognition with our readers. The thousands of western Montanans who read the Missoulian in print or online or both, every day, do so because they care deeply about the other people in our communities. We share their stories because we share their experiences. We read the bad news because it equips us with the information we need to act in a way that results in better news.
Western Montanans have shown time and again that whenever there’s a need, no matter how minuscule or how daunting, we can always count on the people in our communities to step up and pitch in.
It’s just one of many reasons why, on this Thanksgiving Day and every day, the Missoulian is thankful to share a home in western Montana our readers.