UM Journalism School names 2018-19 Pollner Distinguished Professors

Ben Montgomery

Two exceptional journalists will join the faculty at the University of Montana School of Journalism during the 2018-19 academic year as T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professors.

Ben Montgomery, an investigative reporter in Florida for more than a dozen years, will be the Pollner professor in the fall semester. As a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, Montgomery and a colleague were finalists for a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting in 2010 for their series about decades of abuse at a Florida reform school for boys.

He’s also won a number of other national awards, including a Columbia University Dart Award for reporting about trauma and a Casey medal for reporting on disadvantaged youth and families. He was also a finalist in 2011 for a Livingston Award, which honors outstanding work by journalists under the age of 35.

Montgomery was most recently a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. His final investigative project before leaving in November was titled “Why Cops Shoot,” a review of six years of Florida police shootings that revealed how fear and bias breeds confusion, how order quickly dissolves into chaos and ways to avert the violence.

He’s finishing work on his third book, “The Man Who Walked Backward: An American Dreamer’s Search for Meaning in the Great Depression,” which will be published this year by Little Brown & Co. At UM he will teach a course on investigative techniques and narrative writing. He also will serve as an adviser to students at the Montana Kaimin newspaper.

Preston Gannaway

The spring Pollner professor will be Preston Gannaway, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. Gannaway was a photojournalist at the Concord (New Hampshire) Monitor when, for more than a year, she undertook the documentary project “Remember Me,” which the Pulitzer committee described as an intimate chronicle of a family coping with a parent’s terminal illness.

In addition to working at the Monitor, Gannaway was subsequently a staff photographer at the Rocky Mountain News and the Virginian-Pilot.

She is at present a freelance documentary and fine arts photographer based in Oakland, California. Her book, “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” about the changing character of a seaside neighborhood in Virginia, was released in 2014.

Gannaway’s work has been exhibited across the United States and internationally and is a part of the permanent exhibits at museums and schools in several locations. She, too, will advise the students at the Montana Kaimin.

Her class will focus on intimacy and long-form journalism, examining how to form relationships that lead to sensitive and in-depth pieces and build networks that foster bringing those pieces to publication.

The professorship was created in 2001 to honor the memory of T. Anthony Pollner, a 1999 School of Journalism graduate who died in a motorcycle accident in England.