Media Monday: Holly Thorpe

Olivia Fuller / May 1, 2017

For this week’s Media Monday, we’d like you to meet Holly Thorpe, writer and Go! editor at Wenatchee World and editor of craft booze blog, Buzz NCW.

Holly Thorpe

1. How did you find yourself at Wenatchee World?

I grew up in Wenatchee and went to high school here. Once I graduated in 2013, I started interning seasonally with the paper. I got a wealth of experience here during my summer and winter breaks, and even freelanced for their business publication for over a year and a half. It just so happened that as I was graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle, a position at the paper opened up. After giving it a lot of thought I decided to return home. My family, my dog and my roots are here, plus a family-owned and -operated newspaper with a 100-year legacy of serving this town. It felt — and still feels — like the place I should be.

  1. Which of your stories are you most proud of?

Oh gosh. That’s a hard question. I’ve written a lot and I’ve enjoyed all of them for their own reasons. One that springs to mind is a piece I did on a local artist who used ash and debris from a devastating fire two years ago in her art. She collected the ash from the site where her friend’s house burned down and used an encaustic technique — where you flame wax on the surface of the canvas — to incorporate the ash into her actual work. The story is a lot deeper than that and the thought and detail in her pieces is incredible, and I got to explore all of that in my story. When she had an artists’ reception for her work, I got a lot of great feedback from the people there who said they’d read my piece before arriving that evening. You can find it at: http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2016/sep/01/ashes-ashes-encaustic/

  1. What is your favorite thing about your job?

Because I manage our Arts & Entertainment section, as well as a blog all about booze (buzzncw.com), my job is inherently great. I get paid to hang out in theaters and pubs. I get paid to visit museums and do interviews with cider makers in apple orchards on gorgeous fall afternoons. But most importantly I get paid to hang out with really passionate people and help tell their stories. These are folks who are doing what they love — either in the arts or in the world of craft booze — and they’re usually doing it really exceptionally. That’s a great recipe for good conversation and, as a result, interesting stories.

  1. What is your interview style?

My personal style is very conversational. I try to roll with the punches and not get hung up on my own questions list. I’ve found that being able to follow a conversation or an interview where it’s leading me is more powerful and more useful than trying to force it to follow my list of questions. I also try to stay humble and curious: I ask questions even when they make me feel stupid and I ask hard questions from a place of sincerity.

  1. What do you look for in a story?

This ties in to question #3 well: passion, sincerity, exceptional work. These are things that drive a really great arts or booze story for me. Plus, looking for stories that haven’t been told. That sounds a bit silly, but when you consider a town the size of mine (population 50,000 or so) and the fact that this paper has been around for ages, you realize that we’ve told a lot of stories. But there are always more. So breaking out of our traditional boxes and finding new voices is always important to me.

  1. What is your day like at your job?

Sporadic. I’m in and out a lot. I attend a lot meetings because I’m heavily involved with a lot of other things the newspaper does, including our events (we put together a wine and food festival as well as a pop culture convention) and our other publications (a lifestyle magazine, among others). I try to get out and talk to people on their turf as much as possible, be it at their art studio or their brewery. I write a lot, obviously. It’s the main aspect of my work, but I also spend an embarrassing amount of time reading, sending and replying to emails, and lots of time managing social media and the online presence for my sections.

  1. Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?

I’m not going to name drop too much, because I love too many journalists to name them all, but I will give you these two general answers: local journalism and the optimists. I look up to local journalism — the community-supported, independent, all-natural good stuff of journalism — because it represents to me the best of my industry: hard work by real people for real people. Telling stories that matter to your audience in a way that is truthful, ethical, meaningful and engaging. Developing a symbiotic relationship because — and this is idealistic, but I think more true than ever — we need each other. I need readers but, if I’m doing my job right, my readers also feel like they need me. As for the optimists, I’ve been hearing the doom and gloom, end-of-times story about how journalism is dying and print is dead and I’ll never get a job since I was in high school. And here I am, employed at a print newspaper, right out of college. That said, times are tough and things are changing, but the people saying “Let’s make this work” are the ones thriving — not the ones mourning the loss of old news models.

  1. What is your favorite news outlet?

Can I answer “The Wenatchee World”? But in all seriousness, I love Washington journalism, so I have to give shoutouts to the papers I read in college like The Seattle Times, The Seattle Weekly, and Real Change (if you don’t know them, go support a good cause at realchangenews.org). I love the Inlander out of Spokane, too. Nationally, I subscribe to The New York Times and Washington Post. But I read and admire many others.

  1. Fill in the blank:
    1. If I am not reporting, I am…bartending at The Sidecar Lounge in Wenatchee or sleeping.
    2. If I could interview anyone, it would be…Kurt Vonnegut. But he’s very dead.
    3. My favorite thing about Washington is…the people, the weather, the geography and the beer. Sorry. That’s a lot of things.
  2. What is your guilty pleasure?

It’s either day drinking (not at work, of course) or those big bags of chocolate covered coconut almonds from Costco (which I am eating right now). Although I don’t feel that guilty about either.

Olivia Fuller GIF

Olivia Fuller

Assistant Account Executive

Olivia is a passionate multimedia communicator with experience in journalism, audio and video production and social media. She assists with public relations at The Fearey Group as an assistant account executive. She is a recent graduate of the University of Washington, where she earned her degree in journalism and political science with a minor in international studies. During her college years, she interned at the Seattle Globalist, My Edmonds News and KING 5 News and served as the executive producer of The Daily Video at UW. As a Colorado native and resident of Seattle, her recipe for survival depends on outdoor adventures, music shows and coffee.