Montana Public Radio

Lee Banville

Montana death rates from alcohol, drugs, and suicide in Montana from 2000 to 2020.
American Communities Project /

Research into nearly 200,000 Montana death records from the last two decades has put hard numbers to anecdotes about suicides and drug- and alcohol-related deaths during the pandemic.

The report, by University of Montana School of Journalism Professor Lee Banville, is published on the American Communities Project’s website and shows that death rates significantly increased in 2020 in communities categorized as "Graying America," "Native American Lands" and "Working Class Country."

Parsing The Press: Recognizing And Combatting BS

Apr 29, 2021

We all think we know BS when we see it, but do we? University of Montana journalism professor Lee Banville is teaching a course on how to recognize and combat BS, something he'll talk about as this week's guest.

Listen now on Parsing the Press with Sally Mauk and Gwen Florio.

Daily Montanan

  Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Lee Newspaper’s State Government Bureau Chief, Holly Michels, has provided comprehensive coverage of government and politics since 2015. We regret the original omission.

A new statewide, online news service is preparing to launch just in time for the start of Montana’s 67th legislative session. The fledgling non-profit project is called The Daily Montanan.

On Tuesday night the candidates for governor Republican Greg Gianforte and Democrat Mike Cooney faced off in a debate on MontanaPBS. To make sense of what the candidates said, students and professors at the University of Montana school of journalism looked into the major claims and researched the context.
Professor Lee Banville spoke with Montana Public Radio’s Corin Cates-Carney about the highlights.

The novel coronavirus has canceled many aspects of regular order, but city and state governments are still making decisions that might outlast the current pandemic.

YPR News’ Kayla Desroches has been reporting on how elected officials are balancing social distancing guidelines with the public’s right to open government. She shared her reporting with Nicky Ouellet.

Political ads for Montana’s 2020 gubernatorial race have appeared on Facebook at least 760,000 times since the start of the year. Montana Public Radio found nearly all of the candidates running for office didn’t follow state rules for disclosing details about those ads to the public.

Missoula Independent sign.
Josh Burnham

The Missoula Independent newspaper that hit the stands last week will be its final edition.

Lee Enterprises announced Tuesday it has shut the paper down nearly a year and a half after buying the alternative weekly.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana offered some advice to Republican Senator Steve Daines Wednesday. They want him to stop blocking Montana residents from his official government Twitter account.

“By blocking users, it prevents them from being able to engage in discourse about the various different issues that are raised by Senator Daines on his account," says ACLU of Montana attorney Elizabeth Ehret.

University of Montana's Main Hall.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

A faculty spokesman says he’s optimistic about the new University of Montana President.

Late this afternoon Seth Bodnar was named to the post and will take office, starting January first.

Bodnar is a Rhodes scholar with two masters degrees from Oxford University and currently an executive at General Electric. He is a West Point Graduate who also taught there and was chosen over three other finalists.

Lee Banville, the University Faculty Association’s spokesman, says the union is optimistic and this could be a new era for UM.

University of Montana's Main Hall.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The University of Montana’s faculty union is accusing UM’s administration of violating its own policies regarding hiring contracts for campus lecturers.

The University faculty union filed a formal grievance Thursday against UM for how it’s handling non-tenured faculty. Union spokesperson Lee Banville says at least 34 lecturers received notification from the University that they will not be rehired for spring semester 2018, despite signing an annual contract.