University of Montana J-school grad student Nicky Ouellet "in the thick of it"

Two weeks into an internship with the Tioga Tribune, University of Montana School of Journalism graduate student Nicky Ouellet is finding that she thrives in a newsroom. 
 
“I live for deadlines,” Ouellet says during a recent phone interview from Tioga, North Dakota.

Prior to coming to UM last fall to earn a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism, the New Hampshire native and Oberlin College alumna already had an impressive resume. She taught English on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and in Russia as a Fulbright Fellow. She also covered conservation issues while interning for the Earth Island Journal.

During her first year of graduate school, Ouellet wrote about legal challenges facing medical marijuana users on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation for the J-school Native News Honors Project. Her articles, including one about train safety, were published in the Missoula Independent.

Despite the cumulative experiences, Ouellet says the Tioga Tribune internship has allowed her to work in a newsroom for the first time.
 
“I love it,” she says.
 
Ouellet through her internship is covering what she calls “down home stuff,” such as the summer rodeo and efforts to build a new animal shelter. She’s also satisfying her desire to do environmental journalism by examining issues surrounding oil extraction in North Dakota’s petroleum-rich Bakken formation.  
 
“It’s kind of nice to be right in the thick of it,” Ouellet says.
 
While in Tioga, Ouellet is investigating pipeline safety and, as she says, “Trying to report the heck out of what’s going on here.”
 
In her free time this summer, Ouellet plans on working on her professional project, a J-school graduate program requirement. Her radio and print project will explore natural resource issues on American Indian reservations.

After graduating from the J-school, Ouellet hopes to land an “NPR-style radio” journalism job or write for a print publication.
 
Posted June 23, 2015