Team plans in-depth look at life, history in Bakken region


Jessica Jane Hart

Tarek Fouda talks with Stub Tatro on his property outside Richey.

A group of mostly local journalists are planning to do some in-depth coverage of developments in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and Eastern Montana, and they need your help.

Peter Tolton and Stan Parker, contributors to Last Best News, are teaming up with Jessica Jane Hart and Tarek Fouda, and their plan is chronicle what’s happening in the oil patch through photos, video and written stories. A big part of their plan is to complete a full-length documentary by this fall.

They will spend three weeks on the road this June, posting daily content to their website, so that viewers, in the words of their press release, “can experience the stories alongside the team.”

Parker elaborates: “It’s so much more than a documentary. This is going to be an engaging way to experience this region — this moment — through movies, still images, and written word. There are so many unique voices, and we want our audience to sincerely feel like they’re meeting all of these people, too.”

Tolton, for his part, says that for all the media coverage of the boom, most of it has centered on the rapid growth, environmental impacts and soaring crime rates.

“These are important issues,” he said in the release. “But we want to focus on a part of this story that gets overlooked — individual people in the area’s small communities. We have lots of personal narratives to tell.”

The four journalists say their intent is to “capture the nostalgia of the past, the fleetingness of the present, and the suspense at guessing what the future holds.”

That’s a worthy goal, and a nice way of putting it, which we hope hints at the quality of what they will produce. And we hope that some of their work will make its way onto the pages of Last Best News.


Here’s how you can help: They have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to finance their project. We gather that most everybody knows about Kickstarter by now, but just in case, here’s how they describe it in their press release: “Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform, designed exclusively for creative projects. Contributors to a Kickstarter campaign are called ‘backers,’ and it’s not a donation because they all get something in return.

“For the High Plains Heritage Project, perks include a digital downloads and DVD copies, fine art photography, underwriting opportunities and more.”

And because their project is all about preserving history, for every DVD copy pre-sold through the Kickstarter campaign, they will donate one copy to a school, library, museum or historical society in the region.

The Kickstarter campaign will run through June 5. If their fundraising goal of $11,750 is not met by then, the project will receive none of the funds pledged. Go here to look at their Kickstarter page.



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