Meet the Professors: Denise Dowling

We are constantly hearing from students that one of the J-School’s biggest strengths is the dedicated, talented, fearless, experienced, fun, doors-are-always-open faculty.

The Social Media and Engagement class set out to tell that story via Instagram. Over the coming weeks, we will highlight these stories, which illustrate the personalities, philosophies and experience of our top-notch faculty. This week, we give you the second in the series, Associate Professor Denise Dowling.

Denise, a graduate of our very own J-School, teaches intermediate audio, advanced audio, intermediate video reporting, advanced video reporting and ethics and trends in news media. Denise wanted to be a journalist because she, “wants to know everything about everybody!”

Denise came to the school after 20 years in the TV news, first at KPAX-TV while an undergrad at UM.  She moved on to stations in Montana, Colorado and Washington, working as a director, technical director, producer, executive producer and managing editor.

She spent 17 years working in Spokane, working at both the ABC and NBC affiliates. She won a number of Emmy Awards and Edward R. Murrow awards as part of teams that covered a firestorm, flooding, an ice storm and the arrest of a serial killer.


Other profiles in the #meettheprofs series: 

Jule Banville

Kevin Tompkins

The Hard Way Selected as Banff Finalist

photo shows film's subject running down a wooded trail.
The Hard Way was awarded Best Short at the September 2016 Trail Running Film Festival Seattle

The Hard Way Documentary – the inspirational story about 89-year-old ultra runner Bob Hayes, has been selected as a Finalist for the 2016 Banff Mountain Film Competition. In its 41st year, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is one of the most prestigious mountain film festivals in the world. Presented by National Geographic and The North Face, it takes place October 29 – November 6, 2016, at Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

The Hard Way is the inspirational story of Bob Hayes, an 89-year-old who runs 30 races each year, cuts his firewood by hand and does things the hard way to remain active and alive. The film takes us on a journey that’s about more than running, it teaches us to live life with purpose and momentum. Montana independent filmmakers Erik Petersen, of Clyde Park, and Jeremy Lurgio, of Missoula spent more than a year documenting Hayes’ story about remaining active and vital as he approaches 90.

“He lives an authentic, inspirational life, and we were lucky enough to document that,” Petersen said. “Being selected as a finalist to Banff is just icing on the cake.”

“Bob lives the way many of us hope to in our later years. He has a nice balance of hard work, running and being active in the community,” Lurgio said. “He still contra dances, he goes to the library and continues to learn all the time. It’s just really inspiring.”

Erik and Jeremy are traveling up to Banff for the festival this weekend.

The Hard Way will screen November 5 and 6 in Banff, Alberta.

Other scheduled screenings:

  • November 5, 2016 – Missoula, Montana – The Missoula Trail Running Film Festival will feature The Hard Way at The Wilma Theater.
  • If selected for the Banff Official Tour, The Hard Way will play in Missoula at the Banff Mountain Film Festival at the Dennison Theater Nov. 13th.

About the Filmmakers: Jeremy Lurgio is a freelance photographer and an associate professor of photojournalism and multimedia at the University of Montana School of Journalism. You can find his work at

Erik Petersen is a freelance photographer and filmmaker based in Livingston, Montana. You can find his work at

By Jeremy Lurgio