Media Monday: Marilyn Napier

Olivia Fuller / October 24, 2016

For this week’s Media Monday, we’d like you to meet Marilyn Napier, reporter for the Skagit Valley Herald.

Marilyn Napier

1. How did you find yourself at the Skagit Valley Herald?

I majored in journalism at Western Washington University and the Skagit Valley Herald usually gets involved in the program whether its through coming to talk to classes or in some cases, teaching as adjunct faculty. So, the school has a pretty close relationship with the paper. I knew fellow classmates who had gotten hired there and loved working at the Herald. The job allows me to stay in Bellingham, which I love, and the rest is kind of history! It’s a wonderful place to work.

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

I have had a lot of mixed feelings about covering the Cascade Mall shooting that happened in Burlington in September. It is definitely the hardest thing I have ever covered, but at the same time, giving the victims’ families and the community the recognition they deserve in a time of tragedy has been extremely important. It’s some of the most meaningful work I have done.

3. What is your favorite thing about your job?

Getting to talk to people from all walks of life all the time. It’s humbling and gives me perspective.

4. What is your interview style?

I guess it depends on the type of interview, some interviews take more than an hour in person and others take 10 minutes over the phone. For the longer interviews that are more in depth, I try to have a natural conversation more than anything. I do my research in advance, but I also want to let the conversation take its own direction. It’s important to develop a relationship with sources where they feel comfortable talking to you and don’t feel the conversation is forced.

5. What do you look for in a story?

Among other things, I look for how its going to impact the community.  People want to read stories that they can somehow connect to. I think that’s very important to always remember who your audience is.

6. What is your day like at your job?

Every day is different! That’s the best part of it. Normally, it consists of keeping up to date with my beat and what is happening and going out to do stories. Since part of my beat is covering court, I attend criminal court every Thursday. My day really depends on what is happening news wise. Sometimes I am out of the office all day working on stories. Other days, it consists more of phone interviews and research.

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

Ta-Nehisi Coates from The Atlantic has done some really incredible work. I also think Josh Haner’s video and photography for The New York Times is fantastic.

8. What is your favorite news outlet?

I read The Seattle Times and The New York Times daily. I like that how they are both doing more interactive in-depth stories that are very visually appealing online.

9. What is your guilty pleasure?
Netlfix…for sure Netflix.
10. Fill in the blank:
  • If I am not reporting, I am…Outside if the weather permits. I love to hike and get out to the North Cascades when I can. I also enjoy yoga.
  • If I could interview anyone, it would be…Angela Merkel
  • My favorite thing about Seattle is…You can be in the city and still have access to the mountains and the water in a short driving distance. I grew up outside of Seattle and still go visit all the time!