A state of big skies, tall mountains, and watchdog journalism. Photo by Evan Frost

Welcome to MJR

Journalism’s watchdog role — colloquially recognized as the “fourth branch of government” — conveys the weight and importance of media in our society. And just as journalists cover the three official branches (and beyond), so must journalism turn inward, surveying its own reflection.

The mirror can be messy. While scrutiny of larger city media hubs is prevalent, the rural West can sometimes be overlooked. But Montana, along with the rest of the West, is not immune to complications and issues the industry faces. At Montana Journalism Review, we focus our analytical eye on media in our state and neighboring regions.

Each year, we tackle a theme and explore its many facets and interpretations. For our 2016 annual issue, Montana Journalism Review dissects the word “burn” through several lenses: in our home state, the broader Northwest, and looking toward the year ahead. We assess the ways journalists have been on the giving and receiving ends of heat, and the way media has covered the literal burns that tear through western forests.

As the oldest journalism review in the country, MJR has its roots in tradition. But as the media evolve and morph into new shapes to accommodate new technology in a new era, so do we. Some of the most compelling stories today emerge directly from social media.

While we take pride in our printed magazine, we’re expanding our online presence this year to be accessible on the go and wherever you are, in your pocket and on your phone. Follow along as we give you advance teasers of what’s to come in our magazine, as well as behind-the-scenes features on what it’s like to cover your own industry. Find us on Storify and Twitter to join the discussion, and like us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.

We hope you’ll follow along.

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