Jayme Fraser melds people-focused narratives, investigative reporting and data analysis to evaluate social and political issues.
Jayme has covered campaigns, nonprofits, education, wrongful convictions, addiction, criminal justice, 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 after hearing 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 nonprofit that later filed for bankruptcy.
As a member of GateHouse Media’s National Data and Investigations Team, she explores health and its intersection with environment, criminal justice, inequality, culture and policy.
In the fall of 2017, she co-taught an investigations class at the University of Montana School of Journalism with Professor Joe Eaton. It was a first-time collaboration with a professional partner, the Missoulian. They mentored undergraduate and graduate students as they analyzed why Montana has one of the highest rates of drug-exposed births and how the state failed by several measures to provide best-practice care to pregnant women who used drugs.
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 was named a national runner-up examined the questionable science and poor defense in a local “shaken baby” conviction. Her reporting caught the attention of the Montana Innocence Project, which successfully petitioned for exoneration. Wilkes was freed in the summer of 2018, although prosecutors say they might seek a new trial.
Jayme graduated from The University of Montana’s School of Journalism 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 also reported for the school’s Native News project as a writer and a photographer, exploring policies that affect the availability of plants for traditional uses and how the cost of transportation affects economic opportunities in one of America’s most remote communities.
Before joining GateHouse, Jayme reported for the mighty little Malheur Enterprise in rural Oregon as part of the inaugural ProPublica Local Reporting Network. She also has been a state government, special projects and education reporter for Lee Newspapers of Montana. Jayme returned to the West after covering government and religion for the Houston Chronicle, where she started as a Hearst Journalism Fellow. While in high school or college, she interned 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. 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.
When she’s not tapping a keyboard or brandishing a recorder, Jayme roots for the Portland Timbers with the Montana Volunteers, a regional supporters group that directs its passion for the beautiful game into a reason 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.
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