When she was four years old, Jayme Fraser convinced “The Ups Man” to deliver a case of construction-paper books to The Tattered Cover in Denver so she could begin a writing career. Today, as a state projects and education reporter for Lee Newspapers of Montana, she melds people-focused narratives,  investigative reporting and interactive graphics to evaluate social and political issues. Jayme rarely travels without her Canon 7D, documenting adventures throughout the northwest and Texas bayou.

Jayme has covered higher education, nonprofits, wrongful convictions, medical marijuana, religion and governments, ranging from local and state to tribal and federal. She texted breaking updates to an editor while teenagers ducked under church pews to evade gunfire, interviewed a state legislator as he reached into heifers for pregnancy tests, and revealed that executive members of the Houston mayor’s staff used city funds to pay the bills of a floundering nonprofit that would eventually file for bankruptcy.

Krayton Kerns
Rep. Krayton Kerns, R-Laurel, (center) drove home from Montana’s capitol city one weekend late in the 2011 legislative session to help a friend pregnancy test his cattle the old-fashioned, cheap way: by reaching into the rectum and feeling below for the uterus. Here, they brand a heifer whose mark had faded.

She graduated from The University of Montana’s School of Journalism in 2012 after studying multimedia storytelling and leading the Montana Kaimin.The independent campus news organization consistently broke news about the campus’ failure to properly handle rape reports and a high-profile case involving football players that eventually triggered two federal investigations. She was a Houston Chronicle  government reporter and Hearst Journalism Fellow after internships with The Seattle Times metro desk, the politics team at The Oregonian, the Missoulian and The Cody Enterprise. Jayme reported on the 2011 Montana State Legislature for a no-charge news service to bring daily and enterprise reporting to the state’s smallest community newspapers. In high school, she co-founded a bilingual, monthly newspaper for El Golfo, a Mexican fishing village on the verge of rapid development as the first paved road approached. After finding sponsors, gathering contributors and establishing design, the publication was handed over to locals. She also occasionally works under contract for independent book publishers and authors as a copy editor, typesetter and designer for both traditional and e-book formats.

In 2015, she was named an IRE Award Finalist as part of a Houston Chronicle team that investigated the jail suicide of Sandra Bland after a questionable traffic stop. The reporting forced state regulators to change how jails screen inmates, leading to a drastic reduction in deaths. Other projects as a writer and videographer won Jayme top recognition in the Society of Professional Journalists Region 10 Mark of Excellence Awards for three consecutive years. One 2010 story that examined the questionable science and poor defense in a local “shaken baby” conviction was named a national runner-up. The Montana Innocence Project has petitioned for the man’s exoneration because of new medical evidence. In 2011, she was selected as one of the nation’s most promising college journalists for Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Campus Coverage Project.

Timbers_01
In 2014, the Portland Timbers shot free “axe portraits” of fans that they also used in an advertising campaign. When the Timbers played the Houston Dynamo, I shot our own axe portraits.

When she’s not tapping a keyboard and or brandishing a recorder, Jayme roots for the Portland Timbers with the Montana Volunteers,  a regional supporters group that uses its love for the beautiful game as an excuse to do good in the community. She also loves playing cribbage with her husband, cuddling with her dorky green cheek conures, watching movies, camping, and baking pies.

If you would like to hire Jayme for freelance work, email jaymereports@gmail.com.