Three University of Montana School of Journalism students are in Helena covering the 2017 Legislature for scores of broadcasters and editors across the state. The session began Jan. 2.
Michael Siebert is providing weekly coverage to print and online publications. Siebert, a junior in the Journalism School and originally from Billings, was managing print editor of the Montana Kaimin before moving to Helena to cover the session. The Montana Newspaper Association helps fund Siebert’s coverage.
Cole Grant and Freddy Monares are producing daily reports for broadcast newsrooms. Grant is a senior at the Journalism School from Atlanta, Georgia. He has worked with Montana Public Radio and has been featured on Yellowstone Public Radio.
Monares is a multimedia journalist from East Los Angeles, California. He is a senior at the University of Montana and has interned at the Big Timber Pioneer and Montana Public Radio and has been featured on the websites of the Missoula Independent and the Missoulian.
The broadcast coverage is made possible by grants from the Greater Montana Foundation and the Montana Broadcasters Association.
The 2017 session marks the 13th time journalism students have covered Montana’s regular biennial legislative sessions for newspapers.
“The Montana Newspaper Association is excited to again partner with the UM School of Journalism to provide our member newspapers, and their readers coverage of the 2017 Montana Legislative Assembly,” said Jim Rickman, executive director of the Montana Newspaper Association. “This is an excellent opportunity for students to experience the dynamics of reporting on our legislative process. Their coverage delivers essential content to our newspaper and digital audience.”
This is the sixth time UM Journalism School students have provided coverage for broadcasters.
“The Legislative News Service provides MBA members with important current news and information on Montana’s Legislature in addition to training future news broadcasters,” said Dewey Bruce, president and CEO of the Montana Broadcasters Association. “It’s a fantastic service.”
The program is overseen again this session by Visiting Professor Courtney Lowery Cowgill, a UM Journalism School graduate who started her career by covering the Montana state government for Lee Newspapers and later The Associated Press. She is the editor of MediaShift and the former managing editor of NewWest.Net.
“There is no better training ground for watchdog journalism than the halls of the Capitol,” Cowgill said. “And, as it turns out, it’s also a great place for our students to learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurial journalism as they experiment with the best ways to deliver news to a diverse audience on a wide variety of platforms across the state.”
Newspapers or radio stations interested in receiving the coverage can also email Cowgill at [email protected] or call 406-531-4794.