What do you do for work/free time?
I'm a reporter and data designer with the nonprofit news site Montana Free Press — a funky combination of writing about statehouse politics and also (long story) the economics of rural Montana communities. Slash sitting in coffee shops trying to teach myself to code and the occasional outdoor pursuit that doesn't involve staring at my laptop.
How did you land in Helena?
I've been bouncing around Montana for a decade now, but came over to Helena at the beginning of the year for a temp contract job covering the 2019 Montana Legislature. To my good fortune, it's evolved into a full-time gig, so I'm here for the foreseeable future.
What is the best piece of advice that you ever received – career-related or otherwise?
I dunno if this is printable, but I heard one time that journalism professors tell their students to keep "f--- you" bank accounts so they can quit their jobs on the spot if they end up in a newsroom where their company orders them to cross an ethical line. I didn't actually go to journalism school, but that isn't bad advice really (at least if you're fortunate enough to be in a financial position where you can pull it off). Living in a crappy apartment my first year out of college definitely had its drawbacks, but it let me build up a cushion that's made it much easier to cope with the stress of being in a high-hustle/low-job-security profession. Even though, I should add, I've been lucky enough to work for uniformly decent bosses who've never handed me an opportunity to get on my high horse and storm out on them.
When do you feel the most yourself?
I'd like to say that point four or five miles down a trail when you start to lose track of the exercise you're putting in and let your mind wander a bit. But if I'm being honest my life revolves far too completely around my MacBook, so it may also be that point four or five pages into a Google Doc when you've actually figured out what you want to say and forget for a moment how painful it is to write for a living.
Where is the last place you explored and where do you want to explore next?
I just got to float the Smith River in central Montana earlier this summer, which was of course a blast. Beyond that, I'm looking for an excuse to plan a road trip out the Hi-Line east of Havre, since it's the only part of Montana I haven't been to yet.
Tell us something about yourself that we didn’t ask:
In addition to crashing HYP events (well I guess not really crashing any more now that I've finally gotten around to paying for a membership) I'm trying to start a Helena civic data meetup for anyone else out there who gets irrationally excited about how numbers can help us make sense of Montana. If that sounds like something up your alley. Visit: Helena Civic Data Group