Welcome New J-School Students! Here Are a Few Tips and Events to Get You Started

We are gearing up for another great year at the J-School.

Classes start Aug. 27, but that’s not the only way to get the semester kicked off. Here are a few opportunities to get to know the J-School as you get started.

J-School Open House
Don Anderson Hall
Tuesday, Aug. 28, 10 a.m. – Noon

Come visit the school, meet some of your professors and see where you’ll be making all the media magic happen while you’re here.

Don Anderson Hall
Wednesday, Aug. 29, 5:30 p.m.

We’ll celebrate the convocation of the academic year with the whole UM campus, but we also have a special kick-off at the J-School, which we call “J-Con.” At J-Con, you’ll get a chance to use the equipment and studios and get to know your classmates and work on projects with your professors. Plus: Free food!

If you’re just starting in the program, we asked alums and professionals via Facebook to offer some advice on how to make the best of your time here.

Here are a few highlights of what they said:

“Competitive doesn’t have to mean cutthroat. Many of the most effective and successful journalists are also the kindest. Be genuine, be thoughtful, and it will take you places personally and professionally.” -Tracy Johnke

“A story becomes even better once you bounce ideas off of fellow reporters. They can help you see the story completely different. But don’t forget to have fun and take time to relax.” -Ashley Roness, Miles City Star

“The best writing is rewriting. And rewriting. And rewriting.” -Shane Bishop, Dateline

“There are so many opportunities inside the J school and in Missoula. Take a gamble or two, it might change your life!” -Ethaniel Fitzgerald, Multimedia Journalist at WDTN-TV

“Take advantage of office hours. A whole lot of stuff is going to be thrown at you and it’s ok if you need help going over some of it.” -Tasha Cain, 10News WTSP



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.

D.C. editor and former CBS, CNN correspondent named 2017-18 Pollner Professors

portrait photos of Deborah Potter and Cheryl Carpenter.
Deborah Potter (left) and Cheryl Carpenter (right)

The Washington, D.C., bureau chief for McClatchy newspapers and a former CBS and CNN national news correspondent will be the T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professors at the University of Montana School of Journalism for the 2017-18 academic year.

Cheryl Carpenter, who will teach at UM in fall semester, became bureau chief for McClatchy in 2015 after serving for 10 years as the managing editor of the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. McClatchy owns newspapers in every sector of the country, including the Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, Sacramento Bee, Tacoma News-Tribune and Idaho Statesman.

Deborah Potter, the spring 2018 Pollner professor, covered the White House, State Department and Capitol Hill for CBS News from 1981-91 and reported on national politics and the environment for CNN from 1991-94. She is the president and executive director of NewsLab, a research and training organization for journalists that she helped found in 1998.

The professorship is named after T. Anthony Pollner, a UM journalism graduate who died in 2001. An endowment supported by his family and friends allows the school to bring leading journalists to UM for a semester to teach a course and mentor the staff of the Montana Kaimin, the student newspaper. More than two dozen distinguished journalists, including several Pulitzer Prize winners, have spent a semester teaching at the journalism school since the program’s inception.

Carpenter has overseen many investigations, most recently McClatchy’s partnership with news organizations worldwide in examining the Panama Papers, documents that showed thousands of offshore investors were engaged in fraud, tax evasion and avoidance of international sanctions. She will teach a course on the ethical and practical issues reporters face, particularly when dealing with leaked documents. Carpenter holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in organizational development from Queens University in Charlotte, and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2005, studying ethics and leadership.

Potter has extensive journalism experience in both radio and television, from the local to the national level. In addition to working as a correspondent for both CBS and CNN, she was a contributor and host for several PBS programs. At NewsLab she leads workshops for journalists in the United States and around the world, focusing on reporting and writing the news, social media, online and visual storytelling, and journalism ethics. She has been a visiting professor at the University of North Carolina and the University of Arkansas, and she was on the faculty at the Poynter Institute and American University. She will teach a course on journalism and the public trust. Potter holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree from American University in Washington, D.C.