Montana Free Press is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit source for in-depth Montana news, information, and analysis.

Our mission is to produce in-depth public service journalism that creates positive change and helps move society toward justice and equity.

MTFP seeks to uncover the truth and bring to light essential news stories by studying arcane bureaucratic processes, seeking out dark corners of major institutions, digging deep into data and documents, and holding those in power accountable to the people.

We work independently and in collaboration with other news outlets around Montana to produce meaningful news stories that have an impact on the lives and livelihoods of local communities.

EIN: 47-5237719

Our Team

John S. Adams

Executive Director / Editor-in-Chief

Montana Free Press was founded by veteran award-winning investigative and political reporter John S. Adams. John was formerly the Capital Bureau Chief of the Great Falls Tribune and a correspondent for USA TODAY. John is known as a dogged investigator and the host of the MT Lowdown podcast whose unbiased reporting has changed the shape of Montana politics. Contact John at jadams@montanafreepress.org, or follow him on Twitter.

Kristin Tessman

Director of Development and Operations

Kristin Tessman is the Director of Development and Operations at Montana Free Press. Before joining MTFP, Kristin was the Executive Director of AJAY MT and brings with her fundraising, program development and nonprofit management experience. Kristin was born and raised in the southeast and earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Georgia. In 2015 she moved to Montana with her husband and two daughters. Contact Kristin at ktessman@montanafreepress.org.

Nate Schoenfelder

Director of Audience Engagement

Nate Schoenfelder is an accomplished marketing and communications specialist serving Montana Free Press as its Director of Audience Engagement. Prior to joining MTFP, Nate served on the leadership team of software solutions company Pingman Tools as its Marketing and Communications Manager. An Idaho native, Nate brings his decade of professional experience to Montana in support of growing MTFP’s readership, recognition, and reach. Contact Nate at nschoenfelder@montanafreepress.org.

Mallory Stefan

Development Manager

Stefan supports the MTFP business team as the development manager. Her background is in food systems, nonprofit management, and program development, as she previously managed the FoodCorps Montana program before joining MTFP. She lives happily in Helena among her plants and senior cat. Contact Mallory at mstefan@montanafreepress.org.

Brad Tyer

Editor

Brad Tyer edited the Missoula Independent from 2002 to 2007, and again from 2016 to 2018. He has also done two stints as managing editor of the Texas Observer in addition to freelance work published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, High Country News, and other publications. He was a 2010 Knight Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan and a 2011 Fund for Investigative Journalism grant recipient. His book “Opportunity, Montana: Big Copper, Bad Water, and the Burial of an American Landscape” was published by Beacon Press in 2013. Contact Brad at btyer@montanafreepress.org. There’s no good reason to follow him on Twitter.

Eric Dietrich

Reporter

Eric Dietrich a journalist and data designer and the founder of the Long Streets economic reporting project. He has worked for the Great Falls Tribune, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and Solutions Journalism Network. Contact Eric at edietrich@montanafreepress.org and follow him on Twitter.

Amanda Eggert

Reporter

Billings native Amand Eggert is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism who has written for Outside magazine and Outlaw Partners. At Outlaw Partners she led coverage for the biweekly newspaper Explore Big Sky. Contact Amanda at aeggert@montanafreepress.org.

Alex Sakariassen

REporter

Alex Sakariassen has spent the past decade writing long-form narrative stories that spotlight the people, the politics, and the wilds of Montana. A North Dakota native, Sakariassen splits his free time between Missoula’s ski slopes and the quiet trout water of the Rocky Mountain Front. Contact Alex by email at asakariassen@montanafreepress.org.

Mara Silvers

Reporter

Silvers returns to her home state from producing Slate’s daily news podcast What Next. Before that she worked as a producer and reporter in the WNYC/Gothamist newsroom at New York Public Radio. Her work has been featured on NPRThe United States of Anxiety, The Takeaway, Nancy, and Montana Public Radio. Contact Mara at msilvers@montanafreepress.org and follow her on Twitter.

Anna Ries-Roncalli

INTERN

Anna Ries-Roncalli is a senior at Helena High School and plans on studying anthropology when she attends college next fall. Having lived in Helena most of her life, Ries-Roncalli enjoys the outdoors, reading, and spending time with her friends.


Contributors

Nick Ehli

Contributing Editor

Nick Ehli is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism and has worked for Montana newspapers for more than 30 years, including a 14-year stint as editor of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. He was the founding editor-in-chief of Montana Quarterly magazine and currently teaches in the Honors College at Montana State University. Contact Nick at nehli@montanafreepress.org.

Justin Franz

Contributor

Justin Franz is a writer, photographer and editor based in the Flathead Valley. Originally from Maine, he is a graduate of the University of Montana’s School of Journalism and worked for the Flathead Beacon for nine years before becoming associate editor of Railfan & Railroad Magazine in 2020. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Seattle Times and New York Times. Find him at justinfranz.com or follow him on Twitter.

Johnathan Hettinger

Contributor

Johnathan Hettinger is a journalist based in Livingston. Originally from Central Illinois and a graduate of the University of Illinois, he has worked at the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, the Livingston Enterprise and the (Champaign-Urbana) News-Gazette. Contact Johnathan at jhett93@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter.

Emily Stifler Wolfe

Contributor

An independent writer based in Bozeman, Emily Stifler Wolfe has reported hundreds of stories for publications including Esquire, Outside, Powder, and National Geographic Adventure. She was the founding editor of Explore Big Sky newspaper and Mountain Outlaw magazine, and before that, a professional ski patroller at Moonlight Basin. She has two young children and a spotted donkey named Jack. Find her at emilystiflerwolfe.com.


No shouting. No name calling. Just local Montana reporters working for you.

Sign up for our free weekday newsletter.

Montana Free Press Board

Jessie Schandelson, President — Jessie is an award-winning investigative journalist, licensed private investigator, and founding director of the Montana Innocence Project. Schandelson brings her years of journalism, investigative, nonprofit, and grant-writing experience to MTFP’s board as the organization’s president.

Drew Geiger, Treasurer — Drew  is a consultant specializing in human resource management and governmental affairs, with a focus on local and state government. He has more than 20 years of experience working with private and public sector organizations. Drew is a former policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures and served as communications director for the Montana Department of Commerce. Drew was also former lead staff to the Montana Legislature’s Economic Affairs Committee.

Skylar Browning, Secretary — is an award-winning writer and editor, published author, and communications director for one of the nation’s leading multifamily real estate firms. His work has been honored by the Montana Newspaper Association and the Society of Professional Journalists, and he received an NEA fellowship from the Arts Journalism Institute at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “Montana Baseball History,” his first book, co-authored by Jeremy Watterson, was published in 2015.

Alexis Bonogofsky, Board Member — Alexis is a rancher, organizer and freelance writer and photographer who lives and works along the Yellowstone River in southeastern Montana on her family’s ranch. For eleven years she managed the Tribal Lands Partnership Program where she worked with Montana tribes and inter-tribal organizations on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, bison restoration to tribal lands protection of sacred and historical sites and wildlife conservation. In 2014 Alexis was awarded a Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation.

John Brueggeman, Board Member — John is a successful businessman and entrepreneur with extensive experience in the public and private sectors. John is the Oregon-based executive vice-president of the Motor Vehicle Software Corporation. Before that, he served for 10 years as a Republican in the Montana Legislature. He was first elected to the House at age 21 and went on to serve in the state Senate, where he chaired the Transportation Committee.

Chuck Johnson, Board Member — spent more than 45 years as a reporter in Montana, covering the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention for the Associated Press and then working as a statehouse reporter in Helena for the Great Falls Tribune, Lee Newspapers and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Johnson also worked for years as an analyst for Montana Public Radio covering the Legislature and state politics.

Tresa V. Smith, Board Member — Tresa comes from a Montana pioneer ranching family, and her career spans the political, not-for-profit, and business worlds. She received her PhD in government from Georgetown University and worked in the White House under the Johnson and Carter administrations. Tresa specialized in press, scheduling and advance, and fundraising on seven presidential campaigns, including Joe Biden’s first presidential bid, and worked in numerous gubernatorial and senatorial races, including Max Baucus’ first Senate campaign. In the not-for-profit world, Tresa was the director of development for The League of Conservation Voters, the international foundation Ashoka, and The Nature Conservancy of Montana. In business, she was among the initial U.S. importers of the Brazilian Mangalarga Marchador horse, the first to introduce the breed to Montana, and a co-founder and president of the U.S. Mangalarga Marchador Association. She lives on her family cattle ranch in Boulder, Montana.


Editorial Independence Policy

We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:

MTFP is supported by individuals and organizations who value in-depth, investigative news coverage and analysis. We are an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that retains 100% authority over our editorial content to protect the journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services, or opinions.

MTFP accepts gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

MTFP may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.


Nondiscrimination Policy

Montana Free Press does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

Montana Free Press is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.


Affiliations

We are a proud member of several professional associations and industry groups:


Advertising Acceptability Policy

Montana Free Press reserves the right to accept or decline any advertisement or sponsorship it is offered.

Montana Free Press will decline to accept advertising that it knows or believes to be misleading, inaccurate, fraudulent, or illegal, or that fails to comply, in Montana Free Press’s sole determination, with its standards of decency, taste, or dignity.

Montana Free Press, like all quality publishers of original journalism, maintains a clear separation between news and advertising content. Advertising that attempts to blur this distinction in a manner that, in Montana Free Press’ judgment, confuses readers will be rejected.