The Missoula Independent has tapped arts and entertainment editor Skylar Browning to be the paper’s next editor and hired freelance contributor Erika Fredrickson to take over the arts desk.
“Skylar was the guy we wanted from the start,” says Independent publisher Matt Gibson. “He’s very, very good at the work he does — smart, funny, ambitious. And he exudes personal confidence and professional cool. He’s a truly admirable colleague, and I’m thrilled he agreed to step up.”
During his four years helming the Independent‘s arts section, Browning earned five first place honors for feature writing from the Society of Professional Journalists, multiple awards from the Montana Newspaper Association, and this year was granted a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for arts criticism. Before joining the Indy, Browning worked for Discovery Channel Online, America Online and the Associated Press.
Fredrickson has been one of Browning’s most reliable freelance contributors for the last three years. She has a BA in creative writing, and has published poetry in Camas: the Nature of the West and The Sonora Review. She is currently finishing her MS in environmental studies at the University of Montana and serves on the board of the Montana Food Policy Council. She also writes for and edits Envirovore, a sustainable agriculture blog. Before coming on board at the Indy, Fredrickson worked for the Life’s End Institute, The Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources and as a shepherdess in Tuscany, Italy.
“I’m excited about this opportunity — even after learning about an open shepherd position in Tuscany,” says Browning. “When the Independent is at its best, I would say we’re as compelling, entertaining and vital as any other alternative paper in the country. I look forward to keeping us at that level week-in and week-out with the help of Erika and the rest of our excellent newsroom.”
The Missoula Independent is Montana’s largest weekly newspaper, with a distribution of 20,000 in the Missoula, Bitterroot and Flathead valleys.