The Sam Reed Event!!!

Questions for blog post about Sam Reed:

What was it like interviewing the Secretary of State?

I want to say I looked at it like any other interview…but that would be a lie. I was thrilled, honored, terrified, and all sorts of other cliched emotions, but I tried to keep all of them in check, knowing that my genetically-inherited blood pressure (thanks, Dad) would likely skyrocket. And it did. But, it was also one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.

Were you nervous at all?

Like I said above, I was. But I also knew that this was an opportunity that many journalists, let alone student journalists, never get.

What kind of questions did you ask him?

You’ll have to read the article!

What kind of questions did you want to ask him?

I think I covered most everything I wanted, or that was in the scope of the interview (I only had about 5 or 6 minutes with him, before he had to do his actual talk). I would have liked to talk more about the 2004 Gubernatorial Recount, though

What was your impression of the guy?

Very genuine, and likable. He really seemed to know what he was talking about, rather than reading from a script. His staff were really helpful, as well. (He called me “the newsman”).

Do you feel like it helped build your journalism skills?

Yeah, it taught me that interviewing elected officials is not all that scary, and that people who seem intimidating are really not, once you look at them as being human (which can be easy to overlook at times). Basically, I learned to take a chill pill, and relax.

How do you feel the interview went?

Well, that is for the readers to judge! But I am rather proud of how it came out. I hope to have a more detailed account up later, but for now, all I will say is that I hope people will come away with a better sense of who he is and what he does.

Any additional comments?

I need to thank Toby Sonneman, the adviser for the Horizon, for reassuring me. I would like to thank the student council for their help, in particular Stephanie Young, who was in charge of this event, and pulled it off like a boss. I would also like to express my gratitude to all of the Horizon staff. In particular, Cutter Kilgore, for assigning me the story. Also, Kelsey Rowlson, who kept me in the loop. And finally Melissa Angell, who makes the best looking paper ever, but moreover, has kept me from succumbing to stress and bursting into tears more times than she will ever know. Oh, and she introduced me to “Sherlock.” That alone will ensure I am always in her debt.

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What 007 and I Have in Common

It feels as if I’ve been writing correspondence from the trenches for the last three years – dodging angry Germans and eating spare dog meat when I can. But that’s simply not true. I’m in my second quarter at Whatcom Community College, trying to keep up with multiple social media sites, and occasionally doing a story for the student paper.

Suck on it Trebek.

I’ve come to grips with reality this quarter, and have truly seen myself in the shoes of a journalist. I realize for the first time that because of my career choice, I will forever be “that weird guy taking pictures,” probably in the corner of a room, or maybe in your face if your unfortunate enough.

While community college’s CAN in fact be interesting places, they aren’t tourist traps, so anyone holding a camera is usually singled out pretty quickly as a:

a) a pervert

b) a beautiful genius

c) a terrorist.

I really like to think of myself as a beautiful genius, but as I said before, I’ve come to grips with reality.

Because not all journalists are a, b, or c, Cutter, our esteemed purple-haired-Chief-of-the-Editors, procured press IDs for the whole staff of the Horizon. I don’t know how he did this, but I am eternally grateful.

And even though my spiffy new press ID establishes my credentials as an official WCC journalist, I have realized a few strange things about it. For one: it makes me into someone slightly different (dare I say cooler?). Two: obnoxious people who think they are great sources will flock to me, and proceed to tell me everything that is irrelevant to my story. Three: The people I need to talk run away from me.

When I put my press ID around my neck I feel like Frodo slipping on the Ring of Power. To some I am obviously a bad ass, who probably knows some people in high up places (so you might wanna watch out); to others I am a rascal. A pest. A weasel noodling around the scene with my thick rimmed glasses and nasally voice.

Well whatever, maybe that’s true for some. For me, the press ID is a tool – maybe even a weapon. I can be the weirdo taking pictures when I need to remain inconspicuous, and then morph into the seasoned reporter when I have to. It’s all a game of perception… but what isn’t?

Don’t worry, I won’t get too deep.

In coming to grips with my identity as a journalist I have realized just another aspect of why I appreciate this job: I get to pretend I’m a spy.


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Council Notes-4/26/2012

-The Sustainability Club requested $245.71 to buy stainless steel water bottles for their Orca Day activity, which will be a ring toss.

-The library requested $500 to purchase new DVD’s for their film collection. The library pledged to match any funds the student council puts up. The motion has been tabled pending a vote.

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Twitter FAIL

Here’s a slightly hilarious sort of depressing list of FAIL from Aflac, BP, Chrysler, Godaddy, Qantas, and Kenneth Cole, all via twitter. BP is the worst.

Got this from Social Media Chimps.

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Journalism Unemployment

Here’s an article on journalism unemployment. Unemployment rates for recent college graduates in journalism: 7.7 percent.

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Production Monday

Production Monday is here and we are busy as usual. Production Monday means Tuesday will bring a brand new stack of papers hot off the press, but it usually has us sitting in front of the computer screen all day long.

Gabriella, Cutter, Melissa and Katy going over some final editing of the paper.

Not to fear! Cletus the fetus is here! He is the Horizon‘s long standing mascot and an avid fan of our news staff.

He's a little dirty. Probably in need of a good bath.

Gabriella, the Horizon proof reader, is in charge of making sure the final drafts are up to snuff. We usually print out quite a few drafts before calling it a day.

Our printer. It is both slow and unpredictable. Legend has it, that it was forged in the depths of Mordor.

After the printer decides to cooperate we go to work on our paper. AP Stylebooks and red pens are EVERYWHERE.

Katy's tending for Cletus. Awwwwwwww!

We usually lay out the drafts in order and go through them together. We question everything: spelling, photo contrast, headlines, etc.

A few drafts laid out on the table. (I think everybody was on a computer at this point.)

The Horizon newsroom is busy on production days from as early as 9 a.m. and can stay that way until late in the evening. The bottom line is that a quality newspaper is produced in a timely fashion.

Cutter bought us some Pizza from West Side. I have yet to pay for any food and am feeling pretty guilty. (In case your wondering, the pink blob is my finger.)

Be sure to check out our website for our news stories! They are uploaded shortly after we print out 6 trillion copies of the newspaper.

Cletus is either very cold, or upset with what he's reading in the news.

Where am I this whole time you ask? Twitter. Oh, and WordPress.

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If your thinking about a getting your hands on a smartphone you should read this

Geeky Journalist

I don’t know if it’s the AP’s status as a co-op, or its decentralized nature, or its ties to traditional (old) media, or what the problem is. But once again, they’ve proven that they just don’t get it when it comes to new media.

The AP launched a stylebook app for the iPhone/iPod Touch today. Which is pretty cool on the face of it. But there are two things that make it a major bucket of fail:

1. It costs $28.99 (for comparison’s sake, the print edition of the same book is $12.89 on
2. It doesn’t dynamically update. Check the snippet from the news release below:

The 2009 AP Stylebook app is available for $28.99 from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at Annual releases for the app are set to coincide with the release dates for the Stylebook print edition. As a…

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Inside the News

Ever wonder how a newspaper gets published? THIS IS IT.

Here’s a few photos of the Horizon’s news staff designing our next issue. The process can be hectic, but it’s usually fun.

(Melissa, our production editor designing our next issue.)

Just sorting out the news can be a difficult task. The Horizon’s editors have to decide which news should be in color, which need to be placed up front, and where our advertisements need to go. With Cutter as the new editor, we’re making some big changes to our newspaper. The process has been exciting and challenging.

(Cutter, our editor in chief, taking a break from design.)

WCC news hasn’t changed much, but the way it’s presented has. Being an online editor, I am beginning to realize that presentation goes a looooooooong way.

(From left to right: Toby (advisor), Melissa, Katy, and Cutter. There was a lot of chin rubbing this day)

Often, the decisions we make for our design get scrapped – much to Melissa’s dismay. It can be a bit painful to throw away an idea that you have worked hard to create. Taking criticism and criticizing others can be a difficult thing to get used to as well.

(During class, Horizon staff members editing some of the stories.)

Despite the headaches, the Horizon’s news staff makes well of their time and enjoys their work. It also allows the students to get out of the rigid mindset of the traditional classroom and collaborate, suggest ideas, and brain storm.

(Cutter and Katy encroach upon Melissa’s sanctuary. She lives at the computer in the corner of the room. She’s given food and water every now and then.)

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Everything We Wanted to Be

This is it. The Bellingham Herald has stolen our thunder. Completely. They have a blog which covers major events here at WCC. And no, I don’t think they care that we have student run newspaper.

Anyway it’s okay. I guess.

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It’s not all about writing…. you gotta know the biz.


Getting published is a crucial part of free-lance writing and for any journalist. There are important steps to consider to make the right impression. According to Mitzi Miller, Jest’s Editor in chief, targeting your letters to the magazines or outlets is crucial. Miller said, “If you just send me whatever and it’s not very well thought-out and it makes no sense for my magazine, you’re wasting my time. And I remember that.” Instead of drafting a general letter and mass-mailing it to everyone, one should show a genuine interest in the perspective company. This borders on common sense but a mass pitch can be time saving and cover a lot more ground. To make a lasting impression one should develop a well thought out and unique pitch for each company. Miller emphasized to get to the point of the story succinctly and swiftly. “Make it impossible for me…

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