Alumni Spotlight: CBS News Correspondent Meg Oliver

Graduates of the University of Montana School of Journalism go on to do great things, in journalism and beyond. They direct newsrooms, report on international issues, photograph history, inform the public on air, start their own businesses, influence public policy, publish books and become leaders in their communities. Here, we spotlight some of our alumni who showcase just how powerful, and versatile, a journalism degree from UM can be. (If you are a graduate who would like to share your experience or know of someone we should spotlight, email Courtney Cowgill.)

This installment spotlights Meg Oliver, ’93, who works as a News Correspondent at CBS.

Meg Oliver. Courtesy photo.

Question: Where do you work, how long have you been there and what is your job title?

Answer: I’m a CBS News Correspondent. I report for CBS This Morning, The CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning Saturday, CBS Sunday Morning, and I anchor for their digital network CBSN.
I started at CBS News in 2006.

Was this the type of work you thought you’d be doing when you went to school? Share any details you’d like on your work trajectory?

I started out as a “one man band” in Missoula and over the course of a few years made my way up through local TV markets. It wasn’t until I was in Washington D.C. that the network called and offered me the overnight anchor of Up To The Minute at CBS News. Today as a correspondent, I cover practically every major breaking story.

Can you describe an average day on the job?

There is no average day on the job for me. I never know what I”m going to end up covering. To give you an idea the last year has included the London Bridge terror attack, two hurricanes back to back with one day off in between, the Texas Church shooting, two terror attacks in New York and multiple feature and enterprise stories.

What experiences at the J-School were notable in preparing you for your work?

The best thing about the UM J-school training was that it was hands on! Everything we did in the classroom we used in the field. When I looked around for Journalism schools UM stood out to me for their hands on approach and the amazing professors they had on hand.

What do you think makes the J-School special? Do you have any particularly fond memories of your time at the J-School?

The J-school is a hidden gem in the rockies. I was lucky to find it when I was looking for schools. There is nothing like being inspired by the mountains and having some of the best professors in the business teach you how to write, shoot and edit.

What advice would you give a student just starting out in journalism school? Or, what advice would you give to someone considering journalism school?

… It’s an ever changing field. I would soak up as much wisdom as your professors have to offer you. But remember to keep up with the changing social media platforms …

Montana Journalism Students Win Society of Professional Journalists Awards

University of Montana student journalists at the School of Journalism are winners and finalists in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Awards for large universities (10,000 or more students) in Region 10.

Student reporting and production was honored in three group projects led by University of Montana School of Journalism faculty.

  • The Meth Effect won for online in-depth reporting. The project examined the Montana people and programs affected by an influx of cases caused by methamphetamine use in Montana. It was led by School of Journalism faculty Jule Banville and Lee Banville.
  • UM to Fukushima: Finding Home After Fallout won for Online News Reporting. This project examined the challenges the people of northeastern Japan faced as government support ended for people evacuated after the Great Northeast Earthquake and related nuclear plant meltdown. It was a part of the annual Montana Journalism Abroad undertaking and was led by faculty members Nadia White and Denise Dowling, with staff support from Cameron Bucheit and in-country support from photojournalist and UM J-School alum Keiji Fujimoto (UM SOJ ‘08.)
  • UM News was a finalist for the Best All-Around Newscast. UM News is a weekly television and online news production created by reporting and production teams of students. It is overseen by faculty Kevin Tompkins and Ray Fanning.

Seven graduate students won individual awards or participated on winning teams. These include:

Nora Saks in radio news, features and with The Meth Effect team.

Olga Kreimer in non-fiction magazine article for a story on a proposed bottled water plant in the Flathead Valley. Her reporting was funded by the University of Montana School of Journalism’s Crown Reporting Project.

Zachariah Bryan, Katy Spence and Jana Wiegand as part of UM to Fukushima: Finding Home After Fallout.

Matt Blois, Beau Baker and Nora Saks as part of The Meth Effect.

Undergraduate winners include:

Lucy Tompkins in feature writing

Jackson Wagner in sports writing.

Liam Keshishian sports photography

Meri DeMarois TV feature reporting

DJ Stewart TV sports reporting

Undergraduate finalists include:

Rick Rowan in radio news.

Cal Reynolds in general column writing.

Tailyr Irvine in Breaking News Photography

Hope Freier in Breaking News Photography

Kate Cier in radio feature

Rosie Costain in radio feature

Mederios Whitworth-Babb in TV feature reporting

The Mark of Excellence Awards honors the best in collegiate journalism. First-place regional winners advance to the national competition. With nearly 7,500 members, The Society of Professional Journalists is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Region 10 comprises Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

Montana High School Journalists Nab Awards, Get a Feel for the UM J-School

Nearly 200 high school students from across Montana filled the halls of the University of Montana School of Journalism on Thursday, March 22 for the annual Montana Journalism Education Association awards and High School Journalism Day at UM.

Students took home awards at the awards banquet and then skills and knowledge from eleven different workshops, ranging from TV production to telling stories with Instagram, offered by School of Journalism professors.

To download and see the full list of High School Journalism Day awards, click here.

Below, you’ll find a gallery of some of the moments we captured at High School J-Day. Click on any image to view the gallery.