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UM News
January 07, 2013


Three students from The University of Montana’s School of Journalism have been chosen to provide news coverage of the Montana Legislature’s 2013 session for scores of newspapers and radio stations across the state. The session began Jan. 7.

Amy Sisk, a junior originally from Seattle, will provide coverage for interested newspapers across the state. The Montana Newspaper Association helps fund Sisk’s coverage.

Keele Smith and Jonathon Ambarian, both seniors, will provide daily reports to nearly 50 Montana broadcasters. Their coverage is made possible by grants from the Greater Montana Foundation and the Montana Broadcasters Association.

The students’ coverage also will be featured on Montana Public Media’s website,, along with reports from Montana Public Radio, Yellowstone Public Radio and Montana PBS.

Ambarian, from Frazier Park, Calif., covered the recent state legislative elections for Montana Public Media. He has been involved with radio and television productions at the School of Journalism and most recently, contributed to the school’s weekly television newscast, UM News. He also has worked as a videographer for the University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Smith, who hails from Roanoke, Va., was nominated in 2012 for the D.J. Schults Journalism Scholarship for outstanding performance and academic excellence in radio-television and has produced and anchored weekly newscasts for UM News. She also spent the past 18 months working at KPAX-TV, the CBS affiliate in Missoula, as a camera operator and reporter.

Sisk has covered a wide range of topics across the state for both Montana Journalism Review and the Montana Kaimin. She also has completed reporting internships for the Missoulian and the Redmond Reporter in Redmond, Wash. Most recently, Sisk worked for the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

The students’ work this session will be supervised by UM Professor Dennis Swibold and Adjunct Professor Courtney Lowery Cowgill. The 2013 session marks the 11th time journalism students have covered Montana’s regular biennial legislative sessions for newspapers and the fourth time they have provided coverage for radio stations.

Newspapers or radio stations interested in receiving the coverage are encouraged to call Cowgill at 406-531-4794 or email



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Contact: Courtney Lowery Cowgill, UM adjunct professor, 406-531-4794,