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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s no good reason to follow him on Twitter.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 NPR, The United States of Anxiety, The Takeaway, Nancy, and Montana Public Radio. Contact Mara at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter.
Emily Stifler Wolfe
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.
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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.
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.
We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization.
Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services, or opinions.
We accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals, organizations, and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics, and special projects. Our news judgments are made independently and are not based on or influenced by donors. We do not give supporters the right to assign, review, or edit content.
We will make public all donors who give to Montana Free Press. As a nonprofit, we will avoid accepting donations from anonymous sources, and we will not accept donations from political parties. We will not accept donations from sources that, as determined by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.
Major Support Provided By
Arnold Ventures – $200,000
American Journalism Project – $191,674
Sarah Cahill – $100,000
Wilburforce Foundation – $90,000
Inasmuch Foundation – $75,000
High Stakes Foundation – $75,000
Philip I. Kent Foundation – $70,000
Greater Montana Foundation – $70,000
Daylight Foundation – $65,000
Lee and Donna Metcalf Charitable Trust – $50,000
Cloud Mountain Foundation – $40,000
Fund for Nonprofit News at the Miami Foundation – $36,000
Linda and David Cornfield – $35,000
Montana Healthcare Foundation – $30,000
John Tichenor – $25,000
Solutions Journalism Network – $20,750
Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation COVID Response Fund – $20,000
Knight Fund for Sustainable Publishing Solutions – $20,000
The GroundTruth Project, Inc. (Report for America) – $20,000
Simone and Tench Coxe – $14,395.09
Montana Newspaper Association – $12,000
Silicon Valley Community Foundation – $11,000
Anne and Greg Avis – $10,000
Institute for Nonprofit News/Columbia School of Journalism – $8,000
Deirdre Black – $7,244.70
Buchanan Capital, Inc. – $7,000
Sheffield Van Buren – $7,000
Mark Huber – $6,750
John Brueggeman – $6,500
Carl Haefling – $6,010
Stanley Sandrowicz – $6,000
Rick and Jane Hays – $5,040
Alan Kreczko and Becky Latimer – $5,000
Google News Initiative – $5,000
Gregar Lind and Monica Tranell – $5,000
Lenfest Institute for Journalism – $5,000
Nancy Stephens – $5,000
ThinkerCon, LLC – $5,000
To view a complete list of Montana Free Press members, click here.
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.