Centenarian project wins Hearst award for multimedia

Centenarian Hank Dahl stands in front of his portrait at the Capitol building in Helena.

Photo: Centenarian Hank Dahl stands in front of his portrait at the Capitol building in Helena. (Jeremy Lurgio)

J-School students who produced “A Century of Stories” won an award for fifth place in the monthly Hearst Journalism Awards Program.Students in Jeremy Lurgio’s Advanced

Multimedia class last fall set out to tell the stories of 100-year-old Montanans through portraits. Their project, “A Century of Stories”, was previously on display at a ceremony celebrating the J-School’s 100th birthday at the Capitol building in Helena in early January and again during the First Friday Art Walk, Feb. 6.

The idea to find and profile centenarians was inspired by the celebration of the J-School’s centennial year in 2014.

“The diversity of stories we got is pretty interesting,” said Lurgio, associate professor at the J-School.

As part of the project, the students also filmed and created short videos about the centenarians that are featured on the project website.

One of the centenarians, Barney Myers, who is 104, still works out three days a week. Another featured centenarian, Emma Lommasson, had the Emma B. Lommasson Center named after her in 2004 after a 40-year career at the university.

Finding and contacting centenarians across the state took a lot of research, Lurgio said. The class identified 175 centenarians in the state and narrowed the list down to 12. Pairs of students were assigned individuals to photograph.

In order to find a geographically diverse group, some students traveled as far as Chinook and Forsyth to meet, interview, film and photograph their centenarians.

Lurgio said that the project wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Jeremy Sauter, a member of the Journalism Advisory Council at the J-School and his partner, Rebecca Jasmine. He would also like to thank the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library for printing services as well as Burnich Frame and Molding.

- posted on 05/08/15 -