Why J-School? 5 (Good) Reasons to Study Journalism (At the University of Montana)

Why get a journalism degree? Mostly because of all the things.

But specifically, a journalism degree can open doors for you. In journalism, you learn to tell compelling stories, ask good questions, parse complex issues and how to be fair but fierce. You get to create cool things (Documentaries! Podcasts! Magazines!) and keep up with a rapidly shifting media environment.

But, is journalism right for you? Maybe!

Broadcast Education Association Recognizes UM J-School Students, Professor Jule Banville Wins “Best of Competition”

Associate Professor Jule Banville won the “Best of Competition” in the Broadcast Education Association’s annual awards with an audio story about a woman who owns the town of Pray in Montana’s Paradise Valley and can’t find someone to buy it. Contributed photo: Barbara Walker.

The Broadcast Education Association has recognized the excellent work of University of Montana School of Journalism students in its annual awards competition and given Associate Professor Jule Banville the “Best of Competition” award for an audio documentary that aired on her podcast, Last Best Stories.

Banville’s award comes from the faculty division of the competition, which also recognizes student work. More than 1,530 entries were considered. Banville’s work will be featured at the annual BEA Festival of Media Arts in April in Las Vegas.

UM Journalism School students and projects placing in the student division include: 

The Meth Effect, a multimedia reporting project that came out of a class co-taught by JuleBanville and Associate Professor of Journalism Lee Banville, won 2nd place in the Interactive Media and Emerging Technologies Competition, large team division.

Journalism Senior Rosie Costain won 2nd Place with “Accordion Man” in the Student News/Radio Feature competition.

Nora Saks, a student in the Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism graduate program, won the “award of excellence” in radio hard news reporting for her story on two sisters tackling drug use on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. The story aired on Montana Public Radio and NPR’s Weekend Edition last spring.  

UM News, the weekly news segment produced by senior broadcast journalism students, was awarded 2nd place in the Television Newscast category.

Banville’s winning entry is an audio story about a woman who owns the town of Pray in Montana’s Paradise Valley and can’t find someone to buy it. It can be heard as Episode 11 of Last Best Stories, “Owning Pray.” 

 

Banville’s podcast, which launched in 2015, has been featured in the Missoula Independent, the Missoulian, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Distinctly Montana magazine, and newsletters that include the Flyover Podcast and the Audit. Via the podcast, she was also a guest on NPR’s “It’s Been a Minute With Sam Sanders.”

J-School grads contribute to The East Bay Times’ Pulitzer win

Sam Richards and Tor Haugan are both UM J-School alums.

Two UM Journalism School grads played a part in the East Bay Times’ 2017 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting. The East Bay Times, created by the April 2016 consolidation of the Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, California), received the award April 10 for its coverage of the “Ghost Ship” fire in Oakland in December. Thirty-six people died in the fire, which prompted investigations into why people were allowed to live in that warehouse-turned-artists’ space and why the Oakland Fire Department was slow to respond to a problem it knew existed before the tragic fire.

Tor Haugan, a 2011 J-school grad and video editor for the Bay Area News Group, was the video team coordinator, overseeing the production of our videos about the warehouse fire, starting the day after the blaze. Tor wrote and produced breaking news videos; co-produced the video package that went with the news group’s Dec. 11 story about the last hours of the Ghost Ship; and produced and wrote follow-up videos, including the exclusive about how the owners had known about the dangerous electrical system. He has been with BANG since 2012.

Sam Richards, who graduated from UM’s J-school in 1983, is usually a city hall-general assignment reporter with the East Bay Times in Walnut Creek but worked an editing shift the Saturday morning after the fire, spending seven hours that day continuously handling feeds from reporters in the field for updating the main fire story on the East Bay Times and Mercury News websites, and doing the lead editing for the online first-day story about how family and friends of fire victims were awaiting word on the fate of their loved ones. He also reported that night, interviewing family members of people missing after the fire, and witnesses to the blaze, contributing to both main print stories the next day. He has been with BANG’s predecessor companies since 1992.