Where are they now?

A ton of people have braved the Indy offices over the years—and we’ve managed to track down a few


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Josh Slotnick worked as an advertising representative in late 1992 and moved to the production department the following year. In 1996, Slotnick helped found the Garden City Harvest Project and the PEAS Farm (PEAS stands for Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society). He remains the director of the PEAS Farm, while working as a University of Montana lecturer.

Missoula Independent news
  • Dan Baum

Dan Baum was a staff writer for the Indy in 1999. He went on to work for The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He’s also the author of several books including Citizen Coors: An American Dynasty and Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure.

Andrea Peacock (formerly Andrea Barnett) was the Indy’s first paid reporter. As she says, “I came and went over the years,” before returning to serve as news editor for more than a year beginning in 1997. She’s now the author of two books including Wasting Libby: The True Story of How the WR Grace Corporation Left a Montana Town to Die. She’s working on a series of articles about oil and gas exploration and hopes to transform them into another book. She also co-owns Elk River Books, the only used bookstore in Livingston.

Amy Linn worked as news editor in 1993 and later rejoined the Missoula Independent as interim editor in 2008. Linn is freelancing for a variety of publications, including Bloomberg News and Wired. She’s also raising an “awesome teenager” and working on a book proposal that she calls “part mystery, part memoir, part biology.”

Greg Jones worked as calendar editor and then staff reporter during the late ‘90s. After leaving Missoula, he joined Running Press Book Publishers in Philadelphia as an editor and later as editorial director. He left Running Press earlier this year to launch his own business, Greg Jones Editorial, a book publishing and consulting firm in Pennsylvania.

Megan McNamer contributed to the Indy throughout the ‘90s. She’s now executive director of the Missoula Writing Collaborative, a writers-in-the-schools program that places professional writers in classrooms. Her work has been published in Sports Illustrated, Salon, The Sun, Northern Lights, Islands, Tropic, Trips and several anthologies.

Greg Siple was the paper’s original cartoonist and penned roughly 200 cartoons. Siple is the co-founder of Adventure Cycling, where he remains as the art director, taking photos and designing the local nonprofit’s Adventure Cycling Magazine.

Nate Schweber interned for the paper in 1996. He now lives in New York, where he’s lead vocalist in his band, the New Heathens, and works as a stringer for The New York Times. In August, Schweber released his second book, Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park: An Insider’s Guide to the 50 Best Places. He told the Independent during a recent interview that he remains “perennially homesick for Montana.”

Missoula Independent news
  • Robin Troy

Robin Troy was a copy editor, then staff writer from 2003 to 2005. She’s now a tenured associate professor of English, and the director of English at the Southern Connecticut State University MFA Program in Creative Writing. Last fall, her second novel, Liberty Lanes, was published by the University of Nevada Press. The novel takes place in Montana and was inspired by a group of “real” bowlers she befriended when living in Missoula.

Keila Szpaller worked as an Indy contributor and staff writer in the mid 2000s. She’s now a kick-ass reporter covering the city beat and a range of other stuff for the Missoulian.

John S. Adams was a staff reporter from 2005 to 2008 before joining the Great Falls Tribune as the paper’s capital bureau chief. He’s also a USA Today correspondent.

Jessie McQuillan was first hired as a copy editor and soon worked her way up to staff writer in 2005. While writing for the Indy, she earned awards and accolades for articles such as “The wrong man?,” an article detailing the conviction of Barry Beach, who maintained he was innocent of the 1979 death of Poplar teen Kim Nees. McQuillan now works as executive director of the Montana Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to exonerating the innocent and preventing wrongful convictions.

Erik Cushman co-founded the Missoula Independent. He’s now publisher of Monterey County Weekly, an award-winning paper on the California coast. He lives with his wife Kristin, whom he met while she was working as a sales rep at the Indy.

Eric Johnson also co-founded the Indy. He went on to work as an editor for Monterey County Weekly and later as editorial director at Boulevards New Media, the largest operator of city guides. He’s now a freelancer in Santa Cruz and preparing to roll out his next big online project.

Severt Philleo worked on the paper’s circulation staff in the early ‘90s. He was a well known performer in Missoula and now lives in Dallas, Texas, with his partner of 11 years. He adds: “Hosting and sometimes hostessing at Monica’s Nueva Cocina and ME Lounge. Working on a cabaret show, singing, dancing, loving life and missing Missoula and its wonderful inhabitants.”

McCarthy Coyle, a veteran newsman in Florida and New York before moving to Missoula in the 1970s, served as the Indy’s first copy editor in 1991 and 1992. “To say he was just a copy editor doesn’t do it justice,” said then-editor Eric Johnson. “He was our mentor.” Coyle, who was also a local playwright and instrumental in starting Missoula Community Access Television, died in 2006 at the age of 67.

Zach Dundas was the Indy’s arts editor in the late ‘90s. He has worked as a reporter for Willamette Week, Portland’s Pulitzer Prize-winning weekly newspaper, and had articles published in Good Magazine, the Associated Press, Maxim and Metropolis. He’s now an associate editor at Portland Monthly magazine. His 2010 book, The Renegade Sportsman, explores America’s DIY sports revolution “one beer and bruise at a time.”

Julie Lapham was the Indy’s sales manager in the late ‘90s and early aughts. She’s now a no-nonsense loan originator with American Mortgage of Montana in Missoula.

After serving as the Indy editor, Blake de Pastino went to work at the American Independent News Network, a nonprofit dedicated to investigating and disseminating news that advances the common good. He also worked as an editor and reporter for National Geographic News and Phoenix New Times. De Pastino recently came back to Missoula, where he works as chief editor for nerdfighter blogger Hank Green.

Jason Wiener joined the Indy staff in 2005 as calendar editor and later served as interim arts editor and contributor until his election to the Missoula City Council in 2007. He won reelection in 2011. Wiener also owns a computer repair and maintenance company called “Techxorcist.”

Missoula Independent news
  • Chad Harder and Andy Smetanka

Andy Smetanka first came to work for the Indy as the “Calendar Kid.” He later became arts editor and stayed for five years, before leaving in 2005. He went on to become caretaker at the Moon-Randolph Homestead and lived there with his family for five years before recently moving. He’s now focusing much of his energy on his new animated film called, And We Were Young, which tells an animated oral history of American soldiers in the last days of World War I.

Missoula Independent news
  • Brad Tyer

Brad Tyer was the Indy’s editor from 2002 to 2007. His work has appeared in Outside magazine, the New York Times Book Review, Texas Monthly and High Country News. His book, Opportunity, Montana: Big Copper, Bad Water and the Burial of an American Landscape, is slated for release in March.

George Ochenski “rattled the cage of the political establishment” with a weekly column in the Indy for 12 years until earlier this year. He now writes a weekly column for the Missoulian.

Sarah Daisy Lindmark worked as the Indy’s photo editor in 2008 and 2009. She’s now living in St. Louis, running her photography business, Sarah Daisy Photography, and raising her two daughters, Finley Montana and Daisy Lu. She says, “I still have a camera around my wrist or neck most of the time, but if I’m holding too many things, it’s usually down in the diaper bag.”

Missoula Independent news
  • Steven Rinella

Steven Rinella contributed to the paper in the late ‘90s and early aughts as an arts writer while studying at the University of Montana. He’s since published a number of books, including The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and his latest, MeatEater, which was released this month. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, O, The New Yorker and Outside magazine. He previously hosted a Travel Channel show called “The Wild Within” and currently hosts “MeatEater” on The Sportsman Channel.

Missoula Independent news
  • Lorie Rustvold

Lorie Rustvold started working in classified advertising in 1999. She’s still at the Indy in both classifieds and at the front desk, and is the paper’s longest tenured employee.


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