Massages At The Great Falls Tribune?

Back in the Stone Age (12-14 years ago?) I was a member of the Great Falls Tribune Readers Panel, which met on a monthly basis to discuss local issues, newspaper content, and ideas for making our local newspaper more relevant and interesting.

I recall going into the relatively new Tribune HQ down on River Drive South for my first Readers Panel meeting.

Wow. It was kind of like going into the Daily Planet; there was Jimmy Olsen pecking away at his typewriter, and over there was Lois Lane getting ready to go out on the street for a big interview. Where’s Clark Kent?

Or maybe like the newspaper office from Hollywood’s ‘All The Presidents Men’, a bustling, busy place full of chatter and lots of activity. Dustin Hoffman and whats-his-name from ‘A River Runs Through It’ getting ready to break the Big Story.

Well, not quite. But it was a busy place with lots of employees and desks on different floors and in various departments.

And they even had a special room where employees could get a massage. They had a massage room, I kid you not.

I’m not sure if the masseuse was on staff or they brought someone in, but yep, those busy journalistic poobahs could get a little back and shoulder rub without having to run down to Tokyo Massage.

Oh how the mighty have fallen. From massages in the newsroom and a 2000 Pulitzer Prize to an empty building with less than a skeleton crew to service what was at one time the biggest city in Montana.

News came last week that the final vestige of the old Great Falls Tribune will soon be gone. All of the Tribune’s print operation will be relocated to Helena starting July 1, 2020. That means 21 local jobs will be lost.

Oh, we’ll still have something called “the Great Falls Tribune” here, but in reality it will continue to just be another small town propaganda appendage for USA Today and their political/social agenda.

In fact if the infotainment economic model continues to hold true, it probably won’t be long until the goings-on in Great Falls becomes a sidebar note along with the other little communities in a larger regional or statewide newspaper produced in Helena or Bozeman etc.

Either that or the GF Tribune will be a bi-weekly or weekly publication. Wednesdays and Sundays featuring grocery coupons.

Let’s face it, the Great Falls Tribune hasn’t really been a local newspaper for quite awhile now. And the 2000 Pulitzer on alcoholism notwithstanding, they’ve never really done any local investigative journalism.

Like all of the other local mainstream media in Great Falls, the Trib specializes in frothy fluff pieces, little police blotter nose-pickers, high school sports, and cheer-leading for the local status quo establishment, many of whom also happen to be advertisers.

There are several reasons that print media all over the country is going through a crisis and our hometown paper isn’t immune to the trend. I get it. It’s been sad to watch the decline and fall of the Great Falls Tribune empire, truly.

But let me leave you with one question to ponder and hopefully answer: Why has Great Falls’ hometown newspaper gone all but under while other Montana daily papers have not?

Posted by Rick Tryon

Rick Tryon is an entrepreneur, a singer-songwriter, and is currently serving a four year term as a Great Falls City Commissioner. Helping Montana become an even greater place to live, play and work is Tryon's passion.

Reader interactions

4 Replies to “Massages At The Great Falls Tribune?”

  1. Commissioner Rick–the answer is one of fact that can not be denied ! We as a community through the years began the slide that we mourn today.We had many opportunities to stay number one ! We turned down a chance for a major auto plant to be where the new Wal Mart now stands, A large air craft firm,a very large Postal facility, a postal unite at the air port. If I am not wrong in the 1950’s a chance for the interstate to come through Great Falls.We have lost most all major shopping to other communities because we would rather go there than buy here. I believe we have lost our community pride , our strong community leadership.Who knows where this turn will take us if we continue to compare our community to other communities. And lament their success and continue to speak poorly of Great Falls. Is there a plan to seek out other business when one business closes. Instead of “no it can’t be done” ” why not ask why not”. Shall I go on or have I made my point?


  2. In retrospect We have watched our community slip away by doing nothing to stop it. In the 1950’s–1956 when I was a young Airman at Malmstrom, Central was the place to be !! It was the Saturday night gathering place for cruising the drag, there were three movie theaters, sporting goods, clothing stores,shoes stores, The Paris and bars (no casinos that I knew of) and several restaurants and a night life with class. The Great Falls Tribune and the evening Leader. Does any one remember the Silk and Saddle, the Rose Room with live music ? And more ! Have I made my point yet ?


    1. Good comments Mike. I remember the Rose Room and many other places that are no longer around. I was also a Leader boy, delivering the paper all over town when I was a kid and we had both a morning and evening edition newspaper.

      This is my hometown. I grew up here. I believe in being optimistic but realistic. We can once again be the envy of Montana but it’s gonna take time and a lot of hard work.

      First we have to pull our heads out of the sand and realize that pretending everything is wonderful right here in River City ain’t going to get her done.

      Tough love is what’s needed in Great Falls, Mayor Mike.


  3. I’ve re-read your article about the decline of the Great Falls Tribune and agree with many of its comments. For sure, “we’ve watched our community slip away,” but not because we’ve all done “nothing to stop it.” I agree “we’ve had many opportunities to stay number one, but (that, for the most part, we’ve) lost our community pride, our strong community leadership.” A past “fluff” writer, says what she did “made the paper great, unlike your divisive article,” that she “gave readers that hometown Montana feel that tied our community together.” To a point, she’s right. So “why is the Tribune failing when other Montana papers are relatively healthy?” One writer says it’s because “none of the local media seems to do any investigative reporting.” Another says it’s “our lack of growth that has something to do with it.” Still another says, “The Tribune hasn’t represented Great Falls….for quite some time.” I disagree; it represents us exactly.
    Much of Great Falls is stagnant and no-growth, a failing disorganization of self-entitled, self-deceived do-littles, and each sub-membership justifying and excusing their failure at the expense of the others. To say the Tribune does no investigative reporting understates their disability, but why would they accurately report what the City of Great Falls wants to remain unknown? Approximately four weeks ago a person died in a house on a corner of our block. The most frequent visitors to that house (often several times weekly) were different levels of law enforcement: Great Falls City Police, U.S. Marshals Office, Drug Enforcement, Department of Corrections, bondsmen, you name it. My neighbors, my family and I watched the day and night drug trade enter and leave this place, aware of each incoming shipment of drugs and their distribution; we watched a resident of this house come outside and shoot at someone who was stealing a wheel off a pickup parked at its curb; we called the Great Falls Police many times yet, even after someone died from the goings-on in that home, the Tribune failed to investigate or write an article about it. But why would they? To do so would reveal the ineptitude of our local leadership and, in turn, would prevent the paper from gaining other law-enforcement related articles. “Scratching one another’s back” takes on new meaning doesn’t it? This isn’t strong community leadership; this isn’t community pride; this isn’t that hometown Montana feel I grew up with! It’s said “the local newspaper is the pulse of the city.” If this is true, it’s no wonder the Great Falls Tribune is dead on arrival.


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