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

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.



Who we are

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.

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.

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.

Chris Aadland

Reporter

Chris Aadland covers tribal affairs as a Report for America corps member based in Billings. Before moving to Montana, he covered the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming for the Casper Star-Tribune, and has also reported for the Wisconsin State Journal. Contact Chris at caadland@montanafreepress.org and 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.

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 and follow him on Twitter.


Contributors

Amanda Eggert

Contributor

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. She’s currently a freelance writer covering the environment, the impact of public policy, and what it means to live in the Mountain West in the 21st century. Contact Amanda at eggert.amanda@gmail.com.

Erika Fredrickson

Contributor

Erika Fredrickson is a freelance journalist based in Missoula, where she writes about technology, the environment, and lifestyle. She was the arts editor at the Missoula Independent for 10 years before it was shut down in 2018.

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.

Alex McKenzie

MT Lowdown podcast producer

Alex McKenzie has worked with a diverse array of start-ups and nonprofit organizations. He is a former record producer and music journalist, has additional experience working in agriculture and food security, and previously operated his own dairy business. He lives in southwest Montana. Follow him on Twitter.

Hunter Pauli

Contributor

Hunter Pauli is a Seattle-born, Missoula-based freelance investigative reporter and a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism.
You can follow Hunter on Twitter.

Alex Sakariassen

Contributor

Freelance writer 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 alex.sakariassen@gmail.com.

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.


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Montana Free Press Board

Skylar Browning 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.

John Brueggeman is a successful businessman and entrepreneur with extensive experience in the public and private sectors. Brueggeman 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.

Drew Geiger 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. Geiger is a former policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures and served as communications director for the Montana Department of Commerce. Geiger was also former lead staff to the Montana Legislature’s Economic Affairs Committee. Geiger serves as MTFP’s board secretary.

Chuck Johnson 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. 

Jessie Schandelson 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 treasurer.


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.


Donor Transparency

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

Sally Cahill – $100,000

Daylight Foundation – $65,000

High Stakes Foundation – $55,000

Miami Foundation – $51,000

Inasmuch Foundation – $50,000

Wilburforce Foundation – $40,000

David & Linda Cornfield – $35,000

Philip I. Kent Foundation – $35,000

Greater Montana Foundation – $20,000

Silicon Valley Community Foundation – $11,000

Montana Health Care Foundation – $10,000

Cloud Mountain Foundation – $10,000

Buchanan Capital, Inc. – $5,000

ThinkerCon, LLC – $5,000


Membership support

To view a complete list of Montana Free Press members, click here.


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.