Vast Expenses: University of Montana Native News Honors Project

The University of Montana School of Journalism’s Native News Honors Project will publish its 22nd edition on Saturday, May 25. The publication, titled “Vast Expenses,” will be inserted inside editions of the Missoulian and the Billings Gazette.

“Vast Expenses” focuses on how money is spent in and out of Montana’s Indian Country. The project is entirely reported, written, photographed, edited and designed by students in the UM School of Journalism.

The students, paired into teams of one photographer and one reporter, spent the 2013 spring semester researching Montana’s tribes and how they are affected by spending issues. Most teams conducted in-the-field research on their assigned reservations during spring break.

In addition to the printed edition, the project features a series of multimedia videos that accompany each story in the publication. The videos can be viewed on the Native News website at

“Vast Expenses” features eight stories, one from each of Montana’s seven reservations as well as the state’s landless tribe, the Little Shell Ojibwe. The Native News team covered topics such as:

  • One family’s difficulty wading through state and federal red tape while trying to finance and build a home on the Crow Indian Reservation;
  • the Blackfeet Tribe’s conflict regarding its enrollment policy, which determines who can identify as a tribal member and what costs come with the status;
  • and the perception and effect of tribal government officials and misspending through the eyes of the recently deposed chairman of the Chippewa Cree Tribe on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation

The Native News Honors Project has covered several major issues in Montana’s Indian Country, including education, health, sports, employment and economic development. The project, which in 2005 won the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Award, serves as a tool to introduce students to the rich and intricate government, family and cultural systems on reservations with the hope that they will take this understanding with them into newsrooms nationwide.

For more information call Jason Begay, assistant professor and director of Native American journalism projects for the UM School of Journalism, at 406-243-2191 or email

via UM Native News Honors Project to Publish ‘Vast Expenses’ May 25 – UM News – The University Of Montana.

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