Turning Tragedy into Legacy

Angela and the studio at the E.B. Craney awards
 On the night of May 6, 2015, news anchor Angela Marshall was listening to the scanner at the KTMF/KWYB ABC Fox Montana station. News of an incident at her friend and coworker’s home crackled over the radio.

“It’s one of the most vivid blurs that I’ve had in my life,” Marshall says, her voice catching short as she remembers the night. “I immediately sent my co-anchor to go to the scene because I just had this feeling that something wasn’t good.”

Marshall met Kalee Scolatti in 2003 on their first day of journalism school at the University of Montana. Their friendship grew over the next dozen years. The two would often go out after work, shop together or go skiing.

“She was not only a great listener, she was supportive,” Marshall says with a smile. “She would guide you in a positive direction if you were struggling with one of life’s many problems.”

On that terrible May night, their friendship ended all too soon. The reports Marshall heard over the scanner were confirmed: Scolatti was killed by her estranged husband. She had just been promoted to news director.

“This last year was the hardest part of my journalism career,” Marshall says. “You cover car accidents and murders, but it’s never hit as close to home as it did with Kalee’s death.”

One year after Scolatti’s death, Marshall received the 2016 Broadcaster of the Year Award from the Montana Broadcaster Association. She decided to donate her prize money to the Kalee Scolatti Memorial Scholarship that had been established in her friend’s honor.

“I knew I was going to donate as soon as I knew I was nominated [for the award],” Marshall says. “This was a way for me to remember Kalee.”

KTMF Station Manager Tom Ciprari, Cowles Montana Media Company and an anonymous donor partnered to create the scholarship; other donors like Marshall augmented its effectiveness even further.

“I decided to establish the scholarship to honor the years of dedication and friendship that Kalee brought to our workplace,” Ciprari says. “Her devotion to our goals and vision helped us get to where we are today.”

The scholarship’s first recipient is Meghan Bourassa, a junior majoring in radio and TV production who works at the same station where Scolatti spent many years as a reporter.

“I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs when it comes to college,” Bourassa says. “Receiving this scholarship makes me believe that I’ll get to that stage at graduation someday.”

In the same way, Marshall feels that, through it all, her dear friend’s spirit is still with her.

“Her phrase ‘Go get ’em, girl’ is always in the back of my mind.”

Pictured above: Angela and the studio at the E.B. Craney awards where Angela won her regional Emmy.