Grad students and conservationists celebrate new Crown Reporting Fund

UM J-School graduate students, conservationists and scientists came together to celebrate the J-School’s new project, the Crown Reporting Fund, at a dinner this past Wednesday, Nov. 19.

Held at Silk Road restaurant in Missoula, the dinner was also an effort to generate stories that have yet to be told about the Crown of the Continent.

“We wanted to celebrate the launch of the J-School’s new reporting fund, which pairs graduate journalism students with seasoned editors as they pursue stories in the Glacier National Park area of Montana and Canada,” said Henriette Löwisch, director of the graduate program at the J-School and organizer of the event.

The event also featured a keynote speech from NPR reporter, Chris Joyce.

“Joyce talked mostly about the importance of the journalist and scientist relationship and how the two depend on each other,” said Jayme Dittmar, a UM graduate student who attended the dinner. “He also shared many of his own personal experiences.”

Löwisch said the dinner allowed journalists, scientists and conservationists to put their heads together over dinner and come up with some great story ideas, ranging from wolves to water rights.

“We wanted to create networks of knowledge and common purpose between emerging journalists, research scientists, conservation advocates and other stakeholders in the Crown region,” Löwisch said.

John Weaver, senior conservation scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Society, said he thoroughly enjoyed the dinner, especially engaging in conversations with so many different people.

“It was also interesting to hear Christopher Joyce’s perspective based upon so many years of reporting experience,” he added.

Dittmar said that many ideas and relationships were developed at the dinner.

“I think the highlight was talking to some of Montana’s most credited professionals about some of the topics that need to be addressed and that the public is obviously going to be interested in,” Dittmar said. “Now our job is to take that one step further and frame it in a way that will hold interest. That challenge is what excites me in journalism.”

The Crown Reporting Fund was created in memory of conservationist Ted Smith, who spent many years studying the Glacier region and worked to protect the area.

- posted on 12/02/14 -