The Montana Gap
This co-op project involving Solutions Journalism Network, High Country News magazine and a dozen Montana news outlets looked at how western Montana's rural communities are responding as economic trends pull jobs and people toward urban centers. As SJN's Montana-based team member, I helped coordinate engagement work, developed social media graphics and reported out pieces focused on tourism-driven renewal and rural migration trends.
Bozeman, Montana: How will we grow?
A recurring feature series reported and published over 18 months, exploring the consequences of population growth in and around Bozeman, Montana, one of the fastest-growing micropolitan regions in the nation. Stories blended data reporting, narrative storytelling and a solutions focus, driving conversations on topics including tax policy, ag conservation, and gentrification.
The scenery economy crucible
It turns out that Montana's top-ranked high school — just north of Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner — actually has declining enrollment. Trying to understand how Greater Yellowstone's small towns are faring as the region's scenery economy booms, I headed there to check things out.
Making sense of modern Bozeman – Montana’s ‘fancy place’
A reported feature framed by personal narrative, exploring economic and cultural change in Montana's fastest-growing city.
How Bozeman screwed the pooch on housing affordability
The cautionary tale of how one of Montana's two hip college towns, Bozeman, put years into an affordable housing program with little to show for it — published as the state's other one, Missoula, geared up for a push informed by the same consultant.
‘Off the rails’: How Bozeman’s push to think big picture amid growth went astray
An in-depth look at how a signature Bozeman planning effort flopped — helping cost the city's top administrator his longtime job.
Incompatible uses: Why the neighborhood next to an old landfill may cost Bozeman millions
Twenty years after Bozeman officials approved a high-end neighborhood adjacent to the the municipal landfill, the city found itself facing a wave of lawsuits over subsurface fumes seeping from the by-then-decommissioned facility. As the lawyers worked their way toward what eventually became a multi-million-dollar settlement, I dug into the project's public record to sort out what exactly happened as city officials reviewed the development.
Longtime Haufbrau, Filling Station owner remembered
Don Frye made running a pair of legendary dive bars a family affair for decades. When he died in 2016, I landed the honor of writing feature obit for him.
A story you couldn’t make up: A traveler, an alpaca and guns
Bozeman's college-town police blotter is an institution unto itself, but even by its standards the subject of this profile had an unusual run of encounters with law enforcement. I tracked him down for the back story. His version of it, at least.
Beer index: $5 pints come to more Bozeman bars
Faced with a slow news week, I called nearly every bar in town to ask how much they were charging for a pint of my favorite microbrew and then used the data to compile a beer price listing. I repeated the effort a year later - allowing the creation of the city's first-ever beer inflation index.