Montana Journalism Review Releases Web Special on Standing Rock Media Coverage

December 13, 2016

MISSOULA – Montana Journalism Review, a University of Montana School of Journalism student-produced publication, released a special web report on Dec. 13 analyzing how the media covered the Standing Rock movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The interactive website, titled “Framing a Movement: The Media at Standing Rock,” was built by a team of student journalists under the leadership of Senior Editor Kathleen Stone.

Stone, a senior majoring in journalism, oversaw three reporting trips to North Dakota and directed MJR reporters, photographers and multimedia specialists to focus on Native perspectives while capturing both traditional and activist media in action.

In September, UM journalism Assistant Professor Jason Begay, graduate students Matt Roberts and Lailani Upham and senior Olivia Vanni made the 12-hour trip from Missoula to spend time with local reporters from the Bismarck Tribune, news gatherers from national organizations such as Reuters and MSNBC, and social-media activists. The MJR team witnessed altercations between protesters, media and law enforcement and experienced firsthand the competing efforts to control the narrative.

As the semester and protests progressed, MJR sent reporters to the camps two more times, once at the beginning of November and again in early December. Each time, the web content added layers and became more interactive, just like the media coverage it chronicled.

“The Standing Rock web documentary is a culmination of months of hard work from photographers and writers, undergrads and graduates, Natives and non-Natives,” Stone said. “It hopes to answer one question: Did the media do its job in covering Standing Rock?”

Incorporating video, photo, an interactive timeline and multiple print story lines, the special report offers a multidimensional wealth of information.

The format is a first for Montana Journalism Review, a media magazine published annually by the UM School of Journalism.

Founded in 1958 by School of Journalism Dean Nathaniel Blumberg, MJR serves as a watchdog, scrutinizing western news organizations and informing the journalism community about local, national and global industry trends.

It is entirely produced by students, under the supervision of faculty members Keith Graham and Henriette Lowisch.

The special report is online at


Contact: Henriette Lowisch, associate professor, UM School of Journalism, 406-243-2227,; Keith Graham, associate professor, UM School of Journalism, 406-243-2238,