Employees of the Missoula Independent, an alternative weekly newspaper, were notified via email Tuesday morning that they should not report to work, as their newspaper has been shut down.

The newspaper was owned by Lee Enterprises, the parent company of the Casper Star-Tribune. The Star-Tribune last month shut down its printing operation in Casper and laid off some 24 employees, opting instead to have the newspaper printed in Cheyenne.

In an email from Jim Gaasterland, regional human resources director, to Missoula Independent staff reporter Derek Brouwer, Gaasterlund writes that the newspaper is closed as of Tuesday. The email also said employees could expect to continue receiving salary and benefits through Oct. 10.

"As of [Tuesday], you are not to report to work or come into the building," the email reads in part. "If you have personal items that you wish to retrieve, please call [redacted] to schedule an appointment. You also have the option of having your belongings mailed."

The email was posted by John S. Adams, editor of the Montana Free Press, on his twitter feed.

In a story about the closure on the Lee-owned Missoulian website, Matt Gibson, general manager for the Missoulian and two other papers, said, "The Independent has consistently lost money for its owners and is not financially sustainable."



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