This Monday we want to share the story of Taylor Soper, staff writer at GeekWire. Taylor covers a variety of tech assignments, including emerging startups, the sharing economy and the growing intersection of sports and technology. He’s also been named a “New Journalist of the Year” by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Let’s get to know Taylor a bit more!
How did you find yourself as a staff reporter at GeekWire?
Just before I graduated, my former journalism professor at UW, Karen Rathe, sent me a job posting for GeekWire. I wasn’t really familiar with the site and my college journalism experience was focused on sports — not technology or business — but I thought, what the heck. I met with the founders, John Cook and Todd Bishop, over the course of a few days and we worked really well together. They offered me a full-time job and here I am, four years later. It’s kind of funny, because now I’m closely tracking the growing intersection of sports and technology.
Which of your stories are you most proud of?
I’ve had a chance to do some super fun stories and interview some incredible people. Reporting from China was unlike anything I’ve done. Reviewing food delivery services was tasty. Doing old school, on-the-ground reporting about crazy high-tech companies and successful entrepreneurs is also always interesting. And meeting Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith was pretty awesome.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
The people — both those that I get to work with, and those that I interview. This job is very much all about telling the stories of what people are doing and saying, which makes it different and exciting each day. I also enjoy working with a small and scrappy team at GeekWire. It’s fun not only producing content, but helping put on several events per year that range from our big Summit in October to our celebratory Gala in December.
What is your interview style?
I just try to have an engaging conversation. You want to make people feel comfortable. It’s also about asking the right follow-up questions, and not just going down a list. Interviewing is such an art, and it often separates the top journalists from others.
What do you look for in a story?
I’m always looking for something news-y and relevant to our readers. It’s always about our readers — what is important to them? What matters? And why? I look for people and companies that are making an impact in the community, in the region, in the country, in the world, etc.
What is your day like at your job?
On a typical day, I work from home in the mornings and try to post a few stories before our daily newsletter goes out at 11 a.m. Then I try to get some exercise and grab a bite to eat before heading into the office. I write a few more stories and work on longer-term projects in the afternoon. This can all change when we’re covering live events or interviewing folks around town.
Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?
There are so many talented people in this industry and they motivate me to do better. I came from the local sports writing scene in Seattle, and admire the work of guys like Jerry Brewer, Bob Condotta, and Ryan Divish. In the tech world, people like Peter Kafka, Emily Chang, Farhad Manjoo, Mike Isaac, and Kara Swisher. Other favorites include Brian Stelter, Zach Lowe, Bill Simmons, Rachel Nichols, Tom Rinaldi, Anderson Cooper, and many more. And of course I’m lucky to learn from my editors John Cook and Todd Bishop every day.
What is your favorite news outlet?
GeekWire, duh! I also like The New York Times; The Washington Post; and Twitter.