BILLINGS – Billings’ online newspaper, Last Best News, is making some news of its own this week: Owner and publisher Ed Kemmick announced he will be suspending operations on July 1 after four-and-a-half years..
Kemmick told Q2 News Tuesday he wants to retire and spend a more free and untethered life. Before launching the site, he worked storylines in Billings for decades, including a 24-year run as an editor and reporter for The Billings Gazette.
In his final column, Kemmick said he has no personal regrets about pulling the plug. But as a member of the Billings community and larger community of Montana, he said he regrets he couldn’t turn the operation over to someone else. He continues to talk to people interested in acquiring his business or starting their own online newspaper.
“The same thing I won’t miss is the same thing I will miss the most. And that is always being plugged in. No matter what you do, you’re thinking story ideas,” said Kemmick.
Daily readership fell off earlier this year when Facebook changed the way it pushed out news feeds. Kemmick said the algorithm to “de-emphasize” news feeds but daily readership by half overnight.
Kemmick said he’s not sure what the future of news is but he said it’s been fun to be on the ground floor of online journalism.