25 UNDER 35: The next generation of newspaper leaders wants to keep the industry moving.

Author:Yang, Nu
 
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As our industry continues to transform and shift, one thing remains the same: the amount of talent growing in our news rooms. This year's list of young newspaper professionals moving our industry m forward showcases a wide range of skills. From technology and content to events and marketing, these 25 men and women aren't afraid to try new things. They believe in the power of journalism, and they're working hard to make sure it has a future.

(in alphabetical order by last name)

Samantha Anderson, 24

Editor and reporter, Cloverdale Reporter Surrey, B.C., Canada

Education: University of Victoria, bachelor of arts, writing

In 2016, Samantha Anderson took over the Cloverdale Reporter, a long-standing community newspaper in Surrey, B.C., Canada, and since then, she has enriched both the digital and print products. Under her direction, the paper has established a digital reach that surpasses other publications of its size. As the only full-time editorial staff member at the Reporter, Anderson has become a constant presence at community events.

"Her innovations have helped the newspaper remain relevant in a changing world and her dedication to journalism means the content reflects the values and needs of Cloverdale's residents," said Grace Kennedy, Agassiz Harrison Observer editor.

What advice do you have for other young professionals in the newspaper industry?

Stay humble and stay curious. Keep two feet on the ground, both in the office and when you're working a story. When you're starting your first reporter gig, chances are there are journos in your newsroom with more experience in the industry than you have experience being alive. You can learn so much from them just by watching, listening and asking questions. Take every assignment seriously, whether you're talking to the mayor or the home gardener who grew a prize-winning pumpkin. Learn everything you can, wherever you can.

Find new angles, pitch ideas you're passionate about and dive deep into aspects of your community you've always wanted to know about. For me, the single greatest thing about being a reporter is being able to ask questions. You're going to be under stress, working odd hours, and even then, sometimes that story just isn't going to work out. Hold on to what makes it worthwhile: stay curious.

What's it like being the only full-time editorial staff member at your paper?

For the record, although I'm the only full-time editorial staff member at my newspaper, I have the great honor of working with a fantastic team in my newsroom and with journalists from sister publications that report in my city.

That said, being the only full-time editorial staff member is a one-of-a-kind experience. You wear a lot of hats: reporter, photographer, videographer, page designer and editor. You're the one who turns up at the scene, you're the one who turns around the breaking news, and you're the one working late nights and early mornings on deadline. Ultimately, it's an exercise in self-management. You are your own boss and your own employee. You have to set expectations and then rise to them.

Tyler Batiste, 31

Assistant managing editor/sports, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pittsburgh, Pa.

Education: Louisiana State University, bachelor of arts, mass communication

According to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette managing editor Sally Stapleton, Tyler Batiste is an innovative sports editor who has shaped their digital efforts. He oversees 24 pro football, NHL and MLB writers and columnists, and under his leadership, the sports department has received consecutive Associated Press Sports Editors Triple Crown honors. Batiste was hired as a digital news editor at the Post-Gazette upon completion of an internship. He joined the sports department in January 2016 and was named assistant managing editor in November 2017.

In 2017, Batiste was also a "Young, Gifted & Black Award" honoree as recognition for his leadership and service to the Pittsburgh community.

What advice do you have for other young professionals in the newspaper industry?

It's important to embrace the many sides of what we do on a daily basis. Digital and print, written and visual storytelling--very few roles across the industry specialize in just one area anymore. Accepting that possibility of change early brings opportunities to grow and learn, and the various ways in which we tell stories and serve audiences helps you explore more about yourself and your career.

It may take a couple years or different jobs, but make sure this is what you want to do. It's not always glamorous, and it's certainly not a way to amass wealth, but being part of a community in such a vital way is an extremely rewarding and worthwhile endeavor.

What sports team most resembles the newspaper industry right now, and why?

The Los Angeles Lakers. An extraordinary run of consistent success and rough times recently, but there remains a ton of interest in what we do, and brighter days ahead.

Josh Bergeron, 26

Editor, Salisbury Post Salisbury, N.C.

Education: Louisiana State University, bachelor of arts, mass communication

Josh Bergeron's career started as a reporter for the Natchez Democrat in Mississippi and the Selma Times-Journal in Alabama. In August 2014, he joined the Salisbury Post to cover county government and politics. He was promoted to associate editor in early 2017- Bergeron became managing editor of the State Journal in Frankfort, Ky. in October 2017, but returned to the Post as editor in December 2018.

Under Bergeron's leadership, the State Journal launched well-received redesigns of its monthly community magazine and the newspaper, which publishes five days per week, and its web traffic grew by 30 percent.

According to Post copy editor Bobby Parker when Bergeron returned to the Post, he began a strategy to improve online content and got stories posted more quickly.

"He is committed to the local newspaper's role as a watchdog of government and the importance of holding public officials accountable for their actions in office," Parker said. "He is bringing renewed energy to the newsroom as well as understanding and respecting the roles that members of the news team play."

What advice do you have for other young professionals in the newspaper industry?

Particularly for those who work at community newspapers, learn at least a little about each aspect of the jobs in the newsroom. Many reporters are already asked to take photos to accompany stories, but give page design a try. Maybe learn about how the newspaper is printed each night. Besides simply gaining additional knowledge about the business in which you work, specializing in one area while knowing a little about others will make you a more important asset to your newspaper. It certainly won't hurt when trying to move up.

Journalists also shouldn't shy away from starting out at community newspapers, even if he/she doesn't plan to stay there forever. By starting or working at a community newspaper, you'll be closer to the public you serve and have a better understanding for what readers are talking about.

Finally, maintain a good source relationship with the clerks, secretaries and executive assistants at businesses and local governments in the community you cover. Elected officials and CEOs come and go, and clerks can be a good way to find out what's going on when your phone calls aren't being returned. They may not be able to speak on the record, but clerks and secretaries can often point you in the right direction.

Why should investigative journalism be important to local newspapers?

Social media, smartphones and the internet have changed a lot about the way news is gathered and consumed. A large number of people obtain their news solely through social media and don't subscribe to a news source. Police departments post reports online. Governments post financial documents, once only accessible through a physical open-records request, online, too. People and businesses share their stores on social media before approaching their local newspaper. So, newspapers must prove their worth through in-depth reporting. Investigative reporting about the community a newspaper covers will provide answers to questions readers won't get anywhere else.

Nick Bjork, 32

Publisher, Daily Journal of Commerce, Portland, Ore. and The Daily Reporter, Milwaukee, Wise.; group publisher, BridgeTower Media, Minneapolis, Minn.

Education: Lewis & Clark College, bachelor of arts, rhetoric and media studies

As the group publisher for BridgeTower Media, the business-to-business publication arm of GateHouse Media, Bjork oversees the company's two construction trade publications, the tri-weekly Daily Journal of Commerce in Portland, Ore., and the five-days-a-week Daily Reporter in Milwaukee, Wise.

Bjork started out as a reporter at the Daily Journal of Commerce covering land use policy and planning in 2009, and moved into advertising a few years later. In 2015, he assumed the role of publisher and was named group publisher in 2017.

In Portland, Bjork saw more than 20 percent growth in events each of the previous two years and more than 30 percent growth in special publications in 2018. He also launched a Women in Construction awards and education program that has grown from 100 to 700 attendees in six years, as well as launched a Skilled magazine, a print publication and website that provides information to high schoolers.

What advice do you have for other young professionals in the newspaper industry?

Embrace new technologies, new mediums and new ways of telling stories. That goes for both the editorial and advertising departments. The thirst for information and content is at an all time high, and we're just now having a national conversation about the importance of ethos and credibility in information. It's no coincidence that some of our most sacred newspapers are starting to see growth again. Legacy newspapers are well positioned to offer the most credible and useful information, as well as the most...

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