The Roundup -

REAL Montana Working With The Media Seminar Took Place Nov. 18-20


Karli Johnson and Brian Marler, REAL Montana Class 2 participants, advocating for the Natural Resource industries with Jon Arneson on Voices of Montana.

Sidney resident Karli Johnson just returned from three days in Billings as part of REAL Montana (Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership). For Karli and other members of REAL Montana Class II, this was the second seminar in their two-year educational program.

The focus of the seminar was "Working with the Media". Participants heard from some of state's top media experts on how to frame a message, prepare a persuasive speech, and effectively utilize social media. The class attended editorial meetings at the Billings Gazette, KULR 8, and KTVQ and toured each facility. Speaker panels consisting of media and communications experts briefed the class on techniques to earn positive media attention and offered case studies in handling emotional and controversial industry topics in the public arena. Class members participated in over a dozen live television and radio interviews, took part in mock interview training, and fine-tuned their own personal messages about Montana's many natural resource-based industries. Karli along with three other class members were guests on Voices of Montana. She answered questions about the Sidney area and how REAL Montana can benefit the region by providing leadership training. The seminar included a banquet at the Petroleum Club, where the class interacted with local program sponsors and industry leaders. "It was so beneficial to see the media from a different perspective and realize that they are just people tasked with having hard conversations."

Twenty of Montana's sharpest leaders were competitively selected from a large pool of qualified candidates representing a wide variety of agriculture and natural resource industries across the state to take part in Class II of REAL Montana. The two year program features eight in-state seminars, a five-day national study tour in Washington D.C. and a two-week international trip. Seminars include training in agriculture institutions and agencies, natural resource development, public speaking/media, economics, state and federal policy, international trade, urban/rural relationships, water issues, and other current industry topics.

REAL Montana is funded through a partnership with Montana State University Extension and private industry. Oversight is provided by an advisory board of industry leaders. The program will start accepting applications for Class III in the spring of 2017.

Voices of Montana with Karli Johnson & Brian Marler can be heard here:

Complete program information is available at or by contacting Janelle Booth, program director, at (406) 994-6480,


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