The Customer Service Call That Got Me Thinking About The Future Of My Independent Journalism

by Travis Mateer

When I finally answered the phone call that kept coming, day after day, it was an actual person on a recorded customer service line from the Montana Standard. I guess my lack of payment over the months graduated me from automated calls to a paid human coming for some money. 

I was already a bit agitated from the mounting costs of my forced relocation. While my new space is much better suited to meet my mixed-media needs, more square feet means more money, not to mention the internet access, which meant dealing with a constant up-selling salesman the day before, just to realize the $49.95 offer was an illusion from some bundled option that would have cost me over $120 bucks a month. For just internet access, the cost I “locked in” at (not a contract, I was reminded) is around $72 bucks, which goes up to a hundred after a year.

Since my baseline was a dim thrum of pissed-off, it didn’t take much to get my blood boiling, like realizing getting access to a stupid article many months ago meant I had entered into some agreement in which the fine print was going to charge me $25 bucks for “breaking” my subscription. 

After establishing that my colorful range of articulated rage wasn’t directed at the fellow human in the machine doing his job, I dare say I had something approximating “fun” going off on the recorded line about the state of legacy media in Montana, and Lee Enterprises role in exerting narrative control where the fucking truth should be.

You might think the person on the other end of the phone line would be rendered angry and defensive at the nature of this conversation, but you would be wrong. After waiving 3 months of penalty fees, bringing my grand total to just a little over $10 bucks, he asked me an “off topic” question: is it hard being a journalist?

After stating it sometimes feels damn near impossible to get the truth out, I explained that, in my opinion, God isn’t happy with how we’re behaving down here, and a divine reckoning is coming for those who think they can euthanize, drown and psychologically torture God’s children.

I’m reading a book right now by Alex Tsakiris, titled Why Evil Matters: How Science and Religion Fumbled a Big One. It’s absolutely fascinating and perfectly timed for where I’m at with this notion I’m developing that the common ground is the hunting ground BOTH political parties allow to fester from within their respective bases.

From this notion I’m not just looking forward to what may transpire in 2023, but further, to what I, myself, plan on doing in 2024 to challenge conventional politics when I become the first self-declared “conspiracy candidate” seeking local office. Which office? You’ll have to wait and find out, we got a lot of time left in 2023 to get through first, and to do that I need some OPERATIONAL funds to keep this media ship sailing forward into the future, so please consider making a donation at my about page.

Here are a few of the things you can expect from me in 2023: continued local coverage with at least 5 articles a week, a return to podcasting with a weekly drop on Friday reviewing the week’s action, and an expansion of creativity into some video production with some original music mixed in from time to time.

Is this worth your support? Or do you prefer conventional media, like the stories the Missoulian (Lee Enterprises) claims were their most popular of 2022. If you look at that sad list of “news”, you will see TWO stories about Grizzly bears and ZERO stories about our Mayor, or the abuses of Tax Increment Financing. Pathetic.

Next week the murder trial of Lee Nelson begins, and I’m going to be there to bring insights you won’t read anywhere else. There’s also legislative sausage making to cover in Helena, not to mention all the other topics I’ll continue writing about.

Thank you for all the support, I can’t keep doing what I’m doing without it! And stay tuned, because there is SO MUCH MORE to come!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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