Last fall, Missoulian (Mont.) reporter Chelsi Moy and photographer Kurt Wilson drove to northern Montana’s Rocky Boy’s Reservation to watch the personal effort by University of Montana President George Dennison to recruit more Native American students to the university.
They spent three days there, not only with the university officials, but with students on the reservation, talking about their hopes and dreams. The resulting story and photo package has just won first prize in the 2009 National Awards for Education Reporting, the most prestigious national competition for education writing. Read more about the award here, and check out Moy’s story and Wilson’s photos, here.
And, the University of Montana’s School of Journalism announces here that senior Nate Rott took first place in the in-depth writing competition in the 50th annual William Randolph Hearst Foundation Journalism Awards. His work was part of the school’s annual Native News Project, which in 2009 was called “Empty Justice: Crime on Montana’s Reservations.”
Nate’s winning story was about a young man from the Crow Reservation who committed a crime off the reservation, then ran for the reservation border because he knew the Crow Tribe has no extradition agreement with the state and he would not have to face the consequences of his crime. The story tells of how the reservation became his self-imposed jail and also includes interviews of state and tribal prosecutors about the reasons for, and implications of, the lack of an extradition agreement.
Read Rott’s work here.
Both stories are examples of the kind of work – insightful and probing, unflinching and compassionate – that is increasingly rare as news organizations around the country trim resources. We’re thrilled that it’s still being done, and done so well, in Montana.
Tags: 2009 National Awards for Education Reporting, buffalo post, Chelsi Moy, Crow Reservation, Empty Justice - Crime on Montana's Reservations, Gwen Florio, Kurt Wilson, Missoulian, Nate Rott, Native American news, Native News Project, Rocky Boy's Reservation, University of Montana, University of Montana School of Journalism