Heidner joins Ranger to advance media experience

Jason Stuart
Thursday, November 28, 2019
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Brendan Heidner

As a young adult with an interest in media, Brendan Heidner recently joined the staff of the Glendive Ranger-Review to gain some professional development and help him figure out the career path in the media world he’d ultimately like to take.

Heidner began working as a staff writer at the Ranger-Review on Nov. 13, moving over from the Glendive Chamber of Commerce, where he had worked since May of this year as a digital marketing assistant. He said he chose to make the move to the newspaper because his job at the Chamber just wasn’t really in line with the career path he envisions for himself and he felt he had more opportunity for professional development in the media arena by working for the paper.

“I realized I wasn’t quite the right fit for that position, and I had been approached about this position and it felt right to me,” Heidner said. “Everything I’ve been doing here so far, it’s really what I went to school to study.”

Heidner was born in Wolf Point but has bounced around living at various places around Montana as his father, a civil engineer, moved from job to job. He and his family moved to Glendive in 2012.

Heidner was homeschooled from 6th grade on and spent his last two years of high school in dual enrollment courses at Dawson Community College so that when he received his high school diploma, he also earned an associate’s degree from DCC. After that he began attending Corban University in Salem, Ore., though he returned home to Glendive before completing a four-year degree.

“I didn’t graduate there, but I spent a year-and-ahalf studying media arts,” Heidner said.

The reason he didn’t finish at Corban, Heidner said, is because he reached a point where he had to choose between continuing in the school’s media arts program “in a direction I didn’t really want to go,” or moving down to Los Angeles to the bright lights of Hollywood for a semester, something he said he just wasn’t ready to do, at least not now.

“As time went on, I started to realize that wasn’t the direction I was ready to go yet, so I kind of felt like I needed to come home,” Heidner said.

He noted he has had an interest in media since he was a kid, saying he “started pretty young” making short videos with his siblings and friends. Up to this point all of his academic training and experience has been in digital media and videography, so newspaper journalism is entirely new to him.

“I actually have no experience in journalism per se, but that’s something I wanted to develop more. Journalism was only touched on a little bit (in the media arts program at Corban), and I never took a journalism class or anything to develop my journalism,” Heidner said. “I never tried to write a news story before here. The only thing that came close was a blog post I wrote while at the Chamber.”

While being a newspaper journalist isn’t exactly what Heidner said he sees himself doing long term, he said he believes working for the Ranger-Review will help him develop skills he can later apply to other forms of media. Someday, he said he’d like to possibly start his own multimedia service business, which he said would be his “ideal job,” though he was quick to add that he knows “that’s quite a ways down the road yet.”

Whatever path in media he ends up going down with his career, for now Heidner said he is just concentrating on learning the ins and outs of newspaper journalism. It’s a work in progress, but he said he’s enjoying himself so far and feels like he’s already learned quite a bit in the short time he’s been with the paper.

“I’m still getting used to the flow of things,” Heidner said. “But I’ve really been enjoying it and it’s been really great for meeting new people and developing my writing.”

Reach Jason Stuart at dcedc@midrivers.com.