Sarah Yovetich: Covering Breaking News & Winning A Hearst Award Too

selfie of Sarah Yovetich
Photo by Sarah Yovetich.

Commercial radio may be Sarah Yovetich’s first love, but a story she produced for UM News in the fall semester won 12th place in the Hearst Awards TV News category. The piece, “Budget Cuts Result From Decreased Enrollment, State Funding at University of Montana,” took three weeks of research, interviews and editing to compact the news into a minute and 36-second long story.

Yovetich’s photographer for the piece, Peter Riley, pitched the idea after the budget cuts were released right before Thanksgiving break. “We never thought anything was going to come out of it,” Yovetich said. But the campus unrest that followed proved otherwise.

“It’s not just teachers that care, but students,” Yovetich said. “It proved enrollment’s a thing to be worried about.”

However, her research took a step back from the students and staff responding to the university’s proposed budget cuts capture a broader perspective and ask the question, “were the budget cuts out of line?”

“This was a strong story because Sarah found a new angle on UM’s budget cuts by digging into the history of state funding for higher education,” said Ray Fanning, associate professor who co-teaches UM News. “She discovered that at the same time enrollment was falling, the state legislature was reducing its allocation to UM.”

Ray Ekness, who co-teaches UM News with Fanning, agreed. “Sarah did some really good work in UM News this past semester, and it’s nice to see that she’s being recognized for that.”

Yovetich’s worked with Ekness ever since her first introductory journalism class, and she dropped her political science and business majors to switch to journalism. “I loved him and everyone in the journalism department,” Yovetich said. “I really lucked out finding journalism.”

During the summer between her freshman and sophomore year, Yovetich worked as a campus anchor for Montana Public Radio, and since then she’s transitioned to other commercial radio stations in Missoula. She covers news stories for KGVO during the week as an on-air broadcaster and reporter. “Some of the newscasts I do everyday are sent state-wide, so you’ll be able to hear me in different cities, which is kind of cool.”

On weekends, she turns into a DJ for the show “Campus Connection” on 107.5 ZooFM. Yovetich said, “I love relating my life to others and connecting with the community.”

Back on campus, Yovetich just finished serving a full year as the president of the Alpha Phi sorority’s Chi Chapter. The sorority’s helped her with scholarships and academics, as well as serving as a second family to her. Yovetich helped return the support to her sisters through motivational Instagram posts that share her dedication to power-lifting regimes. She now holds five state records in the squat, bench press, and dead lift.

“It’s hard being a senior and balancing that stuff,” Yovetich said. “School’s definitely taking a precedence this year.”

When she graduates in May, Yovetich’s ready to take her journalism skills beyond Missoula. She’s staying open to opportunities in both broadcast and radio fields to continue gaining more experience.

“She’s always been working in things like radio,” Ekness said. “Now she’s stepping out in television, so it’s kind of exciting for us.”

Tune into 107.5 ZooFM on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-3pm to hear Sarah Yovetich hosting the “Campus Connection.”

By Jana Wiegand
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