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Jenna Cederberg – Editor, Montana Magazine

For this week’s journalist spotlight, we turn our sights to Montana – the “Big Sky Country,” a showcase of North America’s magnificent natural history. It’s not typically known for journalism, but the massive state is home to many publications with talent that shouldn’t be overlooked. Such is the case at Montana Magazine, where Jenna Cederberg has recently taken over as editor. She is young, thoroughly dedicated to her craft, and overflows with a passion for Montana, her home state.

All editors have a lot on their plates, but this is exceptionally true for Cederberg. She is the only editor on a masthead of three, which also includes art director Megan Richter and publisher Jim McGowan. Otherwise, she works with freelance writers and photographers who are spread out across the state. Needless to say, she wears a lot of hats.

As Cederberg states, “I start out each day reconciling where we are with our editorial budget. I’m in constant contact with all of our freelancers across the state, getting contracts ready and making sure they follow budgets, and I’m in charge of the production of each issue – everything from working with our printer to working with our art director, who designs the magazine.”

Her most immediate plans for the publication are bulking up its online presence and increasing brand awareness. At almost 44 years old, it’s is the oldest privately owned magazine in the state with an already strong foundation among Montanans. But in order to keep thriving, Cederberg wants to increase activity on major social networks with an emphasis on visual platforms like Tumblr.

Under her direction, the magazine has also developed a slick new website, which provides additional tidbits that didn’t make it into the magazine. “That opens so many doors as far as integrating video and audio with our stories in a supplemental way,” she said.

Cederberg came to the magazine fully prepared to tackle this towering workload. After graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, she followed job prospects back to Montana. In 2008, she found herself at a weekly newspaper in Polson, Mont. called Lake County Leader, where she was able to immerse herself in the print world. As editor of the small paper, her responsibilities were many. She took pictures, wrote cutlines and stories, oversaw production and operated the content management system.

“That was an invaluable experience, seeing the inception of the story idea all the way through to the printing of the paper,” she said.

After two years in Polson, she left to become the news editor at the Missoulian newspaper in her hometown of Missoula, Mont. Shortly thereafter, she became the paper’s business reporter. She focused on the human side of economic issues and how the recession impacted her community. She also curated The Buffalo Post, a Missoula-based blog covering Native American news both in-state and nationally.

Cederberg’s affinity for human interest stories complements her new role at Montana Magazine very well. A hallmark of the publication is its stunning photography, but for her, people are the primary focus.

“The people, what they do – a bow maker who makes hunting bows by hand, or a guy in Bozeman who’s become pretty famous because of his National Geographic show about grizzly bears,” she said. “We really want to break it down and get inside those places – see who the people are that make them tick and what do they do.”

When Cederberg left Montana for school, she didn’t know she would come back; her main goal was just getting a job. She went small first and it really worked for her. “Looking back, I think being able to tell stories and report in a place I really care about was crucial to me,” she said.

“I’m a pretty typical Montanan,” she continued. “It doesn’t take very long to get out of town and into a place where you can get a breath of fresh air, be by yourself if you want, or with your dog. I really love that. The quality of life is pretty awesome.”

There’s no place like home.


Pitching Tips

Montana Magazine covers the people, places and issues of Montana, so pitches should be about the state or have a clear relevance to its residents.

“Sometimes we talk about people who are out in the world doing interesting things, but it always comes back to Montana,” Cederberg said.

She prefers pitches that are specific, colorful and detailed. Send an email first and follow up with a call. She encourages PR folks to check out the magazine’s social media profiles for a taste of its content.

You can follow Montana Magazine on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and YouTube.

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