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