About a year ago, the Indy newsroom received a frantic phone call from its seasoned and usually unflappable arts editor. She called from a remote Montana ranch where she was on assignment at a Girl Hunter weekend, and where a reporter from The New York Times was apparently trying to big-time her and claim he had an exclusive. She might have to leave. She might lose the story. Pissed off and frustrated, but calmer than before, the phone call ended with Fredrickson saying she was going to tell the Times reporter to, shall we say, back off. The end result was a first-person account of the ridiculous-sounding weekend, complete with a journalistic standoff that Fredrickson ended up winning. The story made national news, landing on Jim Romenesko’s popular journalism blog and earning Fredrickson accolades for both her writing and her moxie. That’s just one of her memorable stories over the last year, during which she’s profiled a prominent local artist and his efforts to reconcile the tragic death of his artist son, captured the mounting success and real-life challenges of muralist Hadley Ferguson, and brilliantly imagined the effects of our state’s gun laws by applying the castle doctrine to classic literature. We’ve long treasured Fredrickson’s weekly contributions to the Indy and couldn’t be prouder of our readers choosing her for this year’s honor.
Finalists, Best Journalist
2. Jill Valley, KPAX
3. TIE: Alex Sakariassen, Missoula Independent Jenna Cederberg, Missoulian