HELENA — After a more than three-decade career in journalism, MTN Chief Political Reporter Mike Dennison is hanging up his notepad and officially retiring.
Dennison joined MTN News in August 2015, after a 23-year career as a newspaper reporter covering Montana politics and state government, focusing on campaigns, the Legislature, health care, energy, the environment, and many other issues important to Montanans.
“You know I’ve really had more fun in my career than I could have ever expected and I just can’t say enough about the people I’ve worked with, all the sources who have talked to me over all these years,” said Dennison. “And all the support I’ve gotten from all the people it takes to put out the news. It’s not just one person, you’ve got everyone behind you every day and like I said it’s been more fun than I ever could have imagined.”
Originally from Seattle, Dennison came to Montana at age 20, to attend the University of Montana, not far from where his mom’s family has operated a ranch for more than 120 years, in the Potomac Valley. He graduated from UM with degrees in journalism and English in 1981 and joined the reporting staff of the Great Falls Tribune later that year.
After leaving the Tribune in 1982, he worked the next decade as a wire-service reporter in Helena, Seattle and Grand Junction, Colo., before returning to the Tribune as its Capitol Bureau chief in Helena in 1992.
He joined the Lee Newspapers State Bureau in Helena in 2005, covering politics for Lee’s newspapers in Billings, Missoula, Helena, Butte and Hamilton. He noted he couldn’t imagine a better place than Montana to cover the political scene.
Even though Dennison is retiring, he is confident in the state of political reporting in Montana.
“I think the state of political journalism in Montana is really pretty good,” he explained. “We’ve got way more reporters than we’ve had just a few years ago.”
Dennison leaves his post as MTN’s chief political reporter with some final remarks to the people who have watched and read his work over the years.
“I hope the people who have read me and watched me other the years have thought that I’ve been fair and accurate. But most of all, that they have seen what I’ve produced and become better informed,” Dennison explained. “I wanted to help people know why this story should matter to them, how it affects their family and how it affects their life.”
If you’d like to know more about his career you can also check out his book “Inside Montana Politics: A Reporter's View from the Trenches.”
I can't let the day slip by without sending my heartfelt congratulations to @mikedennison. He's been a wonderful colleague, friend and source of wisdom. #mtnews won't be the same! You picked a heck of a news week to retire, my friend. https://t.co/F5alMQdCFL— Maritsa Georgiou (@MaritsaGeorgiou) February 26, 2022
When I think of journalism, I think of @mikedennison.— Tom Wylie (@WylieTom) February 26, 2022
There’s an incredible amount of noise and spin in politics, and Mike was able to cut through it all to provide facts and context where they were greatly needed.
Enjoy retirement, my friend! Thanks for everything. https://t.co/n8tJ4AcMLA
Mike is a consummate professional and someone journalists should aspire to be.— Sam Hoyle (@srhoyleKTVH) February 26, 2022
He's also a half-decent golfer, but let's not talk about that.
Mike, enjoy retirement. You deserve it.
MTN Chief Political Reporter Mike Dennison announces retirement https://t.co/tWrldG1PQm
I feel grateful to know @mikedennison for 9 years and work closely with him for 5. I’m amazed by his knowledge and skill, and the respect everyone in Montana has for him. He’s always been generous in sharing his expertise with me, even when I was just a student. #MTNews #MTPol https://t.co/QnbOnbokYt— Jonathon Ambarian (@JSAmbarian) February 26, 2022
I have enjoyed working with Mike through the years - as a friendly competitor to a co-worker. Mike has always been helpful and willing to speak about just about anything. Your even-keeled reporting and guidance for younger reporters will be missed @mikedennison. Happy retirement! https://t.co/pMWocWNPfp— Bill Allison (@ballisonmt) February 26, 2022
Big congrats to @mikedennison, one of my favorite people. So grateful for every moment I got to work with him, and even more grateful that Montana's benefitted from his reporting all these years. https://t.co/2Aalo6k9P9— Zach Schermele (@ZachSchermele) February 26, 2022
As a cub reporter, I remember the @missoulian newsroom thrumming with tangible excitement when @mikedennison joined @c_sjohnson and Jennifer McKee at the Lee State Bureau, a Death Star of political journalism taking shape.— Tristan Scott (@tristanscott) February 26, 2022
Elvis has left the building.#mtnews #mtpol https://t.co/L8fC58l4Vy
Standing ovation to @mikedennison! Congratulations on a remarkable career. Your retirement marks the end of an era in #mtpol. I am so thankful for all you taught me over the years. Best of luck in your next adventure! https://t.co/kR7B5Dgfrg— Marneé Banks (@MarneeBanks) February 25, 2022
#mtpol #mtnews Mike's reporting has been thorough, insightful, and absolutely fair. I wish him a long and productive retirement. || MTN Chief Political Reporter Mike Dennison announces retirement https://t.co/PvcWCsAY5x— James Conner (@jrcflatheadmemo) February 26, 2022
Montana is losing the best political journalist I have ever met.@mikedennison helped guide me as I covered the presumptive care legislation that was passed in 2019.— Margaret DeMarco (@MargaretDeMarco) February 26, 2022
Thank you for everything you have done. I hope you enjoy your well deserved retirement! https://t.co/U5OLepvr48
When I got a job on my first statewide campaign in 1995, @mikedennison was one of the reporters to whom I sent press releases. Been working with him ever since. It's going to be a different world.— GreenwoodForMontana (@GreenwoodForMT) February 26, 2022