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Media Monday: Joanna Kresge

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For this week’s Media Monday we’d like you to meet Joanna Kresge, staff writer for 425 Magazine, 425 Business and South Sound Magazine. How did you find yourself as a reporter? After a five-year stint in the Air Force, I wanted to finish my degree and found myself at the University of Washington Communication Department where […]

For this week’s Media Monday we’d like you to meet Joanna Kresge, staff writer for 425 Magazine425 Business and South Sound Magazine.

Media Monday: Joanna Kresge

  1. How did you find yourself as a reporter?

After a five-year stint in the Air Force, I wanted to finish my degree and found myself at the University of Washington Communication Department where I took part in one of their Interview to Internship events which just happened to be with 425 Business. As I finished school I went from intern to freelancer (while interning elsewhere), to part-time staff writer. As soon as I graduated from UW I was offered a full-time position for all three of their brands including lifestyle magazines 425 and South Sound.

2. Which of your stories/shows are you most proud of?

I would say I’m most proud of any of my large print features because they are such a team effort; it takes so many people just to make one story happen, the editor, the graphic designer, the photographer, the printer… it isn’t just about the writer. When I see it all come together at the end of the month in one neat package, that is what really makes my day.

3. What is your favorite thing about your job?

I think all anyone really wants in life is to leave their mark on this world, right? I love knowing that I’ve helped record history for future generations. Whether it’s seeing my Air Force photographs on a museum wall (which has happened), sending a story into cyberspace, or walking through dusty library archives that house old issues of our magazines, I know I’m leaving something behind for future generations.

I also love the unpredictability of the job; one day I could be on the field at the VMAC with the Seahawks, and the next day I could be stepping into the Virtual Reality of Bellevue construction projects, and the next I could be eating a home-cooked meal with a group of firefighters and paramedics in their station.

4. What is your interview style?

I really enjoy just sitting down and having a conversation with someone. Some might see this interview style as lacking structure, and that might be true… but my photography training taught me to put a subject at ease so they are comfortable enough to be themselves around you. If I’m reading from a script of questions or taking too many notes I’ve found it makes my subjects a little tense. Instead, I ask off-the-cuff questions based on actively listening to the person across from me. Of course, this means I have to make super sure my recorder is functioning (wink, wink).

5. What do you look for in a story?

There isn’t just one thing I look for in a story, but as a rule I enjoy writing about things I’m passionate about or things that I know nothing about.

6. What is your day like at your job?

Depends on if it is a writing day or an on-the-road day. Office days are pretty straightforward, I come to work and proceed to write, blog, tweet, edit, review copy, etc. Road days are a lot more interesting. I have some secret nooks around the Eastside where I like to go write in-between meetings, then I get to travel to new places, meet new people, photograph interesting subjects, and then I hope to be on I-405 by 3 p.m. for my drive back south to Auburn otherwise I’ll be stuck in traffic until well after dinner.

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

I most look up to Dorothea Lang, you may know her as the photographer of the famous “Migrant Mother” photograph from the Dust Bowl in the 1920’s. Unfortunately, she passed away quite a number of years ago, but I still find her work extremely inspirational. She overcame so much in her life including polio (and a resulting life-long limp), a hard divorce from her first husband, and she worked (and kicked ass) in a male-dominated industry. Not to mention cameras back then were much more cumbersome and she was dealing with an extremely volatile subject matter (displaced migrant families forced to leave their barren farms for jobs out west).

8. What is your favorite news outlet?

Unlike many in the journalism industry, I’m not a huge news junkie. I don’t listen to public radio, or watch the 24-hour news cycles, but I do enjoy reading the Sunday edition of The Seattle Times with a latte and an authentic (east coast) bagel.

9. What is your guilty pleasure?

I’m pretty nerdy so I tend to geek out about a lot of things that I feel embarrassed to admit… I sometimes stay up late with my husband after the kids go to bed and play World of Warcraft with him, lol. Additionally, 16-year-old me was a pretty big fan of the Backstreet Boys and admittedly, I still jam out to their songs… occasionally.

10. Fill in the blank:

  • If I am not reporting, I am… gosh… parenting my two special needs kids, sitting in I-405 traffic, taking photos to post to Instagram, eating gelato, watching Gilmore Girls on repeat, reading, or geocaching.
  • If I could interview anyone, it would be… a team of storm chasers. I always wanted to be a photographer but for a few brief years after seeing Twister I wanted to be a photographer on a storm chasing team in tornado alley. I even lived in Kansas for a while but never made that dream happen. I would love to get embedded with a team for a week or two during the height of their “busy season” and write about/photograph the experience.
  • My favorite thing about Seattle is… our proximity to nature. Head out of Seattle in any direction and you will inevitably find yourself in some forest, lake, or other serene location. That is not something you see in most major cities.

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