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Warren Kagarise blog post

April 20, 2012

Life in a small town is anything but dreary when you’re one of three reporters at the community newspaper.

In the seemingly uneventful town of Issaquah, Warren Kagarise stays busy.

Kagarise is the news reporter at The Issaquah Press, which was recently honored as the best community newspaper in Washington. Kagarise was named News Writer of the Year, which is a top honor for a Washington state community newspaper reporter. [http://www.issaquahpress.com/2011/10/08/the-issaquah-press-is-best-in-state-warren-kagarise-is-top-reporter/]

Hailing from Florida, he had never been to the Seattle area. His advice to us aspiring journalists? Challenge yourself. Move wherever you have to move for a job and don’t look back.

Kagarise gave us some tips on event coverage, a common practice for him. He said that a mundane event can turn into an enterprise piece based on someone you talk to that may have a personal anecdote that creates an interesting angle on the story. An example he gave was of a woman at a fire station opening who came to personally thank firefighters who had saved her life.

At an event, Kagarise said it’s important to give readers a “flavor.” This means telling them the basics—who was there, what were they doing, what was going on. But he said it’s also important to look for varying perspectives to add spice to this flavor. A 12-year-old child will have a much different outlook about an event than a 70-year-old.

Social media is as prevalent as ever in news media, and The Issaquah Press is no exception. Kagarise said that the website is updated daily. Twitter and Facebook are used as platforms for the newspaper staff and consumers to comment back and forth. [https://twitter.com/#!/issaquahpress]

The Press tweets only during breaking news events, Kagarise said. He said that Twitter is a great starting point for sources, but is not a reliable source to take direct quotes from. This means that if someone tweets about something happening in Issaquah, Kagarise can follow up with this person over the phone or in person and then that individual becomes a valid source.

Kagarise said it’s important to get a different angle on an ordinary story. For example, The Issaquah Press covers Salmon Days every year, but with a different take on the story. [http://www.issaquahpress.com/2012/04/10/salmon-days-nets-state-festival-honors/]

I’m really glad Warren spoke to our class. He was friendly, personable and helpful. Community journalism isn’t something I’m particularly interested in, but he made it seem like a great environment for someone serious about reporting.

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