My Unexpected Birthday Chat With The Destroyer Of The Missoula Independent

by Travis Mateer

A caesar salad with EXTRA anchovies sure does sound good, I thought to myself as I strolled into a nice downtown location to treat myself to lunch.

I had just come from talking with a University newspaper editor, then a University police officer, so I was basking in that post-info-sharing glow I get when talking well-deserved shit on cowardly jurisdictions forcing unpaid people like me to do their job for them.

My train of thinking suddenly derailed when I saw the puffy face of a conniving media player, pictured above, who allowed local reporters to show up to a locked workplace on September 11th, 2018, because that’s the classy way to inform a community you’ve sold out an information asset to corporate interests.

Instead of a caesar salad I quickly recognized that the universe had just given me the MOST AMAZING birthday gift, and all I had to do was open my mouth in proximity to this influencer in order to receive it.

“Are you Matt Gibson?” I asked. “Yes I am.” He replied. “I thought so, I just lost my appetite and you’re the reason why.”

I proceeded to ask Gibson if he was familiar with the name Sean Stevenson. No, he said, he was not. Well, now he is.

I told Matt Gibson that this Missoula community is less informed and, therefore, less safe because of him, and as I said this, I pointed my finger at him.

Can anyone tell me (maybe Gwen Jones, or perhaps Susan Hay Patrick) if pointing a finger at a person of influence is a criminal act? I kind of feel like it might be, but I’m not sure.

Knowing how dangerously skittish these influencers can be, I kept my chat with Matt short, but upon leaving I wasn’t sure if this poor rich man knew who he just had the pleasure of talking to, so I paused my exit and let him know VERY LOUDLY that my name was TRAVIS MATEER.

Then I left.

After enjoying this birthday gift I found out (from a former Indy reporter) that some other former Indy reporters have finally gone live with THE PULSE. Here’s something from just four days ago. What nice timing!

A few weeks ago, at a small fundraising event for The Pulp, a supporter lamented the loss of the Missoula Independent, the beloved weekly newspaper that unceremoniously closed in 2018.

The Independent taught me how to be a Missoulian,” he said, recalling his first couple of years after moving here in the early 2000s.

What a great description of the Indy. Every week the paper revealed a Missoula a little more interesting and complicated, leaving you a little more attuned and connected. Its pages informed our thinking, our weekend plans, our votes. The Indy’s void still feels fresh, maybe because this fast-changing town has us craving an authenticity the paper reflected.

I’m as nostalgic as anyone. The Independent taught me how to be a reporter. Same for Erika Fredrickson, who spent more than a decade as the arts editor. Erika and I are launching The Pulp five years to the week after the paper’s abrupt closure to honor what was Montana’s only alt-weekly and to make clear where our roots lie.

After sending this new Missoula publication a warm, welcoming email, I turned on my recording equipment to capture the inspiration that Matt Gibson gave me at lunch. I’m telling you, that puffy-faced media man is a gift that just KEEPS ON GIVING!

And here’s the song to prove it:

If you would like to support my work, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is one way, and making a donation at my about page is another.

Thanks for reading!

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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5 Responses to My Unexpected Birthday Chat With The Destroyer Of The Missoula Independent

  1. Mrs Stitch says:

    Gibson spoke at Pachyderm about 12 years ago. He said craigslist was killing them, period end of story.

    It’s the ad money. Always was.

  2. Pointing your finger at anyone could be considered a crime, depending on the person, but it is most definitely criminal if your thumb is cocked back like the hammer on a pistol. The way things are going, an action like that might get you some serious time in the pokey, especially if the person you are pointing at is someone of influence or you are a six-year old in one of the State’s Indoctrination Centers.

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