1. How did you find yourself at MLT News?
After a few years online, the previous owner of MLTnews.com closed down the site and Mountlake Terrace lost a valuable addition to the community. The website was purchased by MyEdmondsNews.com owner Teresa Wippel in 2012, who soon after began looking for individuals who may be able to contribute to the effort to resuscitate the site. I quickly jumped on board and have been writing for MLTnews since.
2. Which of your stories are you most proud of?
My primary responsibility with the website is covering high school sports. I am most proud of not any particular few sports stories, but of how we (myself and a few photographers – primarily Jonah Wallace) are able to give comprehensive coverage of local high school sports on a daily basis, something other media outlets in the area can’t or won’t do. During the fall, winter and spring sports seasons, we try to post stories, photos and scores for all the MTHS Hawks sports teams daily on MLTnews. Then in their postseasons, I travel all around the state to cover our high school sports teams in order to share the results and stories of their playoff and state tournament competition with our readers.
Of the many non-sports stories I have written for MLTnews, I am most proud of a two-part series I did in 2014 on the only current cold case murder in Mountlake Terrace’s history, the unsolved death of Tia Hicks in 1991.
3. What is your favorite thing about your job?
Teresa and MLTnews editor Natalie Covate give me complete freedom to select which sports teams and/or stories to pursue during each season. For example, during the high school fall sports season I love having the opportunity to cover football one night, girls volleyball the next, and perhaps some cross country or girls soccer when I get the chance. I love the drama, suspense and unpredictable nature of sports – all sports – and the challenge of the crafting the stories of high school competition into readable and interesting narratives for our readers.
As much as I love sports, I also enjoy writing about interesting people, new businesses or unusual events in the local area. I have the opportunity to pursue stories in these fields also throughout the year, primarily in-between the high school sports seasons.
4. What is your interview style?
I approach interviews differently depending upon the circumstance. With sports reporting, I recognize that I have an opportunity that the common fan does not – to go into a locker room following a contest and talk directly to players and coaches. So I try to respectfully ask questions that fans themselves might ask in that situation. I also hope to get honest responses that not only tell the story of the game but the mindsets and emotions of the players and coaches during the competition.
In other reporting, an interview may be an opportunity for me to seek out specific information or simply a chance to engage in a conversation that others may find interesting. I always try to keep in mind the specific objective I have before interviewing someone.
5. What do you look for in a story?
Simple: do I find it interesting? If I don’t find the story interesting, how can I expect readers to have interest in it. In sports reporting you will always have fans of that particular team or sport wanting the competition results for that team, but I also hope to engage casual readers in my sports reporting. So I always look for angles that these readers may find worthy of their time.
6. What is your day like at your job?
Reporting for MLTnews is a side job for me – as much I as enjoy it, I actually am not nor want to be a full-time reporter. I have many interests and writing is just one of them. Years ago I thought journalism might be a career for me, but the twists and turns in life sent me in other directions, all of which I now treasure the memory of. Currently, for full-time work, I am a letter carrier for USPS. I love delivering the mail during the day and then working for MLTnews in the evenings.
7. Who do you most look up to in the sports reporting industry?
Covering high school sports is like attending a three-ring circus – there is action all around you and you’ve got to really work hard to catch it all. And while some media outlets in the area take the easy route and simply report on scores and results that are shared with them by coaches, players and family members, I admire those individuals in local media who immerse themselves in high school sports and go beyond just reporting scores. I see that in Chris Egan at KING 5 television and Aaron Lommers, a freelance writer for the Seattle Times and the Tacoma News Tribune.
8. What is your favorite news outlet?
Of course MLTnews.com and our MyNeighborhoodNewsNetwork.com partners MyEdmondsNews.com and LynnwoodToday.com. I would be logging on to read these daily even if I didn’t work for them. I watch very little national or local TV news – the bad news and negativity that often dominate television news coverage can become so disheartening! I would much rather learn about the new restaurant opening in town or the local charity doing good work in the community; these ultra-local stories often don’t find their way on TV, but will likely impact my life more directly that international tragedies or partisan national politics. I do subscribe to the Everett Herald and the Seattle Times for their local news coverage. I also enjoy checking out other small community websites such as the West Seattle Blog and the MyEverettNews.com.
9. Fill in the blank:
- If I am not reporting, I am…delivering mail in the 98125 or 98155 zip codes. During my free time I like to listen to music, go to live theater, hang out with my family or check out the racing at Evergreen Speedway.
- If I could interview anyone, it would be…Donald Trump – not necessarily because he is the POTUS (although that is significant), but simply because of the life he’s had. He’s a big dreamer – when he’s pursued real estate, it’s always been on a grand scale. When he ventured into the world of sports, he helped create a national professional football league. When he entered the world of television, he helped create a top-watched show and became a star. His ego and ambition are enormous, and sometimes his pursuits work out with great results. All that makes him a great subject for an interview!
- My favorite thing about Seattle is…the weather. As a mailman I am not crazy about wild extremes in temperature – I don’t want to be out working in sub-freezing or extremely hot conditions. I’m okay with cloudy and 65 degrees anytime. Yes, there’s also the beautiful surroundings and the fact that all my extended family live in the Puget Sound area.
10. What is your guilty pleasure?
I actually like watching some professional wrestling, much to my wife’s dismay. Yes, it’s all scripted and outcomes of matches are predetermined, but that’s not the point. The wrestling matches are often set up as battles of good versus evil, with compelling story lines and interesting surprises. And the wrestlers are actually incredible athletes/stuntmen. It’s a form of adrenaline-filled live theater that knows how to manipulate the emotions of its audience.