Filming at the NAIA National Championship Game in Rome, Georgia, December 2010 - photo by Grant Hanson (Carroll College photographer)
For most of my childhood, my dad worked as a long-haul truck driver. I spent the summer after I turned 14 riding shotgun (and playing navigator) as we ferried carpets to Atlanta, aluminum to Boston, oilfield equipment to Texas. It was a tradition in our family to listen to books on tape during long road trips, and Dad started our summer off with Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild.
I'm sure it was a whim purchase for him – my dad loves Alaska and stories about the frontier and pioneers and other people forced to "rough it" – but for me it was revelation. Krakauer's narrative was equal parts adventure story, personal journal, epitaph, treatise on the social contract, and detective novel. I was enthralled. I remember letting my mind wander as the miles rolled by beneath us, my head filled with visions of a future brimming with interesting places, fascinating people, and compelling, meaningful stories.
A little over ten years later, I graduated from the University of Montana's School of Journalism with a BA and a specialization in Photojournalism (photography has been and always will be my favorite visual medium). Two weeks after graduation I got on a plane bound for St. Petersburg, Florida, where I spent the summer as a Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute.
After Poynter I went to work for the Independent Record in Helena, Montana, and spent almost four years at the paper as the Online Producer and, later, Online News Editor. I feel very fortunate to have entered the field of journalism when I did. 2007 was a time of incredible change for journalists – the iPhone was released in June, Twitter was starting to gain traction, Facebook had just opened up to anybody with a valid email address (not just college kids with .edu mailboxes), and a year later the rumor of the Canon 5D II was piquing curiosity in print newsrooms all over the country.
My education at UM's J-School emphasized media ethics and the tradecraft of storytelling: my professors advocated for the importance of platform independence, and the ascendency of the message over the medium, functionality over form. That grounding coupled with the multimedia training I received at Poynter allowed me to be adaptable and inventive in my approach to assignments at the IR. I had the opportunity to work on a huge range of projects – I produced a number of interactive multimedia packages and over 400 video stories (a mix of news, features and sports, long‐form and short) – and my work was consistently recognized with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Montana Newspaper Association for video storytelling and online innovation.
I left my position at the Independent Record to pursue further training in data visualization and motion graphics from the UM School of Media Art's brand new Integrated Digital Media MFA program. While working on my graduate degree, I also interned as a photographer/videographer for the Forest Service at the Missoula Technology and Development Center, worked as a freelance videographer for the Missoulian newspaper, and served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Media Arts Department.
I finished my MFA in May of 2013 and took the rest of the year to freelance and work on personal projects, but am now on the hunt for my dream job. If you have a story to tell and would like to work together, please use the contact information below or the social media connections in the left sidebar to get in touch.