This month marks Rachel Lerman’s one-year anniversary as a technology reporter at The Seattle Times.
The Fearey Group recently caught up with Rachel to learn more about her background, interests and career.
How did you get started as a journalist?
It really started in 7th grade – I had a really awesome journalism teacher. I grew up in a very tiny town in southern Washington.
In college, I started out as a theater major, but transitioned to journalism. After graduation, I worked for a tech start up – content editing. From there, I interned and worked at the Puget Sound Business Journal, wrote for the Skagit Valley Herald and now I am with The Seattle Times.
What have you enjoyed most about the Times?
There is so much experience on the team. Everyone is very collegial and willing to take the time to teach. I have the best editor. I also find The Seattle Times is striking a really good balance of writing about breaking news and giving people time to work on enterprise stories.
How do the reporters on your team work together?
We have a small tech team within the larger business team. I cover general tech, with a focus on startups, venture capital and entrepreneurship. We have one reporter dedicated to Amazon and another on Microsoft and gaming.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I get to learn so much. Most everyone I talk to is passionate about what they do. Every day brings something different.
Do you have a favorite story you have written?
I interviewed Robert Gates. He was the secretary of defense during the Bush administration. He actually lived in Skagit County and I got to interview him about his new book, Duty. It took me months to get the interview. He was incredibly interesting.
What is your interview style?
I don’t write specific questions. I like talking with a person – having a real conversation.
What do you look for in a story?
A timely hook. Also, it is good to fit into a larger trend in Seattle or bring something completely new and wacky to the market. I also try to focus on the benefit to the consumer.
What is your day-to-day like at The Seattle Times?
I get started around 7 a.m. and work on a few short stories. Then I switch gears to interviews or working on a longer feature.
Who do you most look up to in the field of journalism?
Several people. I’ve had some incredible editors: Carolyn Nielson and Jack Keith (WWU); Colette Weeks (Skagit Valley Herald); Emily Parkhurst and Rob Smith (Puget Sound Business Journal); and Mark Watanabe (The Seattle Times).
What is your favorite news outlet (other than The Seattle Times)?
The New York Times and probably the Economist.
When you aren’t working, you can be found…?
Volunteering with Seattle Repertory Theater.
What is your guilty pleasure?