Montana Free Press is an independent, nonprofit source for in-depth 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
Executive Director / Editor-in-Chief
John S. Adams
Montana Free Press was founded by veteran award-winning investigative and political reporter John S. Adams.
Adams was formerly the Capital Bureau Chief of the Great Falls Tribune and a correspondent for USA TODAY. His award-winning, hard-hitting news stories have appeared nationally and even internationally. Adams is known throughout the state as a dogged investigator whose unbiased reporting has changed the shape of Montana politics.
Adams brings that energy, enthusiasm, and expertise to Montana Free Press as its Executive Director, Editor-in-Chief, and the host of the Montana Lowdown Podcast.
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 [email protected].
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 Austin, 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.
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.
Alex McKenzie, 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 @AMcKenzieMT.
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 [email protected].
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.
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 waters of the Rocky Mountain Front.
Contact Alex by email at [email protected].
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 protected] and follow him on Twitter @jhett93.
Montana Free Press Board
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.
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.
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.
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.
Editorial Independence Policy
We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:
MTFP is supported by individuals and organizations that 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.
Our organization will make public all donors who give to Montana Free Press. We will accept limited anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN’s membership standards.
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 government entities or 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.
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.
Major Support Provided By
Sally Cahill – $100,000
Daylight Foundation – $65,000
Miami Foundation – $51,000
Inasmuch Foundation – $50,000
Wilburforce Foundation – $40,000
David & Linda Cornfield – $35,000
Philip I. Kent Foundation – $35,000
High Stakes Foundation – $30,000
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
We are a proud member of several professional associations and industry groups:
Our stories have appeared in the following publications and news outlets:
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.