By Rob Chaney, Missoulian
Matthew Bunk is the new editor of the Missoulian newspaper.
“I’ve been in the newspaper business for more than 15 years,” said Bunk, 37. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I believe in the mission of the newspaper, to inform people, bring them relevant news and keep them interested. It’s just a special thing.”
As editor, Bunk leads a newsroom of 25 reporters, photographers and editors covering news and sports throughout western Montana. He also is editor of the Ravalli Republic newspaper in Hamilton.
Bunk succeeds Sherry Devlin, who has served as editor of the Missoulian since 2004. Devlin was a reporter at the Missoulian, Spokesman-Review and Associated Press for 25 years before that, and will continue at the Missoulian as an associate editor.
Bunk comes most recently from Libby, where he was editor and publisher of the Western News, a twice-a-week newspaper. Before that, he founded a media company in Bismarck, North Dakota, called the Great Plains Examiner that published a 10,000-circulation monthly magazine with a daily news website. He was managing editor of the Arizona Capitol Times and assistant metro editor at the East Valley Tribune in Phoenix.
As a reporter, Bunk wrote for the Oakland Tribune’s ANG Newspapers subscription service, covering major corporations and the Bay Area economy. He also reported for the Fairfield Daily Republic, covering city and county government, the Kalispell Daily Inter Lake, Mitchell Daily Republic in South Dakota and Mandan News in North Dakota.
“Matt is an excellent content watchdog and will be a great complement to our fine Missoulian news team and the community,” Missoulian publisher Mark Heintzelman said. “He also currently serves as the president of the Montana Newspaper Association and he will continue in that role representing the Missoulian.”
In his volunteer time, Bunk was vice president of the Libby Area Chamber of Commerce, helped found the First Amendment Coalition of North Dakota, and was board member of the United for Youth Coalition in Lincoln County.
“I look forward to being very involved in community boards and organizations,” Bunk said. He also enjoys weightlifting, skiing and snowboarding.
A self-described “policy wonk and political junkie,” Bunk said he intends to continue the newspaper’s focus on in-depth investigations and reporting, as well as stories that will surprise and excite readers.
“The accountability aspect of what we do is what attracted me to the newspaper business – that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning,” Bunk said. “I want readers to feel something when they read our stories, whether that be community pride, admiration or something that makes them angry enough to get involved and make change in the community. And I want our newspaper to be relevant to their daily routine.”
Although he grew up in Bismarck, Bunk said he’s always considered western Montana his home since he was a reporter in Libby and Kalispell in the early 2000s, and again for the past three years at the Western News.
“The more I read the Missoulian, the more respect I have for its newsroom staff,” Bunk said. “I’ve been able to work at small community newspapers and see the daily impact of what we do up close and personal. And I’ve worked at some very large metro papers. I’ve had an opportunity to learn from some of the best journalists in the country. I’m excited to bring my background and the things I’ve learned to Missoula.”