For this week’s Meet the Media, we’d like you to meet Emma Decker, a journalist at Blue Chalk Media.
How did you find yourself as a journalist at Blue Chalk Media?
After graduating college, I moved to Spain and spent a semester there teaching at a bilingual primary school near Granada. When that gig was up, I started interning as a production assistant for OPB Radio in Portland, Oregon. Blue Chalk had heard of my work and reached out to see if I wanted to join one of their projects after OPB. I said yes!
2. Which of your stories are you most proud of?
An audio story I’ve been working on for three years was recently broadcast nationally in Ireland and Canada, (and hopefully in the US soon!). It chronicles the lives of two Irish immigrants who came to Texas as teenagers to become nuns. Their convent was dedicated to educating African-Americans in the antebellum south, and they later helped desegregate schools during the Civil Rights Movement. It’s a story that really helped me understand who I want to be as a journalist and the kinds of stories I want to tell. After it aired, I got tons of emails from people around the world; it’s really special to see a project you worked on resonate with so many people.
3. What is your favorite thing about your job?
One thing I love about working with other journalists or filmmakers / creatives–especially at Blue Chalk–is that it’s a really down-to-earth, no B.S. work environment. You can swear, you can have an ethics debate in a meeting, and you’re surrounded by people who pay attention to the world and are in tune with what’s going on in society. I love the camaraderie and intellectual challenge of working in those kinds of environments.
4. What is your interview style?
Conversational and calm.
5. What do you look for in a story?
There are certain themes that I find I gravitate towards when it comes to looking for a story. I love reporting on things that have a historical aspect, or deal with concepts of family, home or immigration. Having spent a good amount of time living outside the US, I also like the challenge of cross-cultural storytelling.
6. What is your day like at your job?
Every day is different at Blue Chalk, which I love. Sometimes I spend the entire day at my computer researching stats or facts for a script. Other days are spent on a shoot. Sometimes I’ll pass hours on the floor with the office dogs building IKEA furniture, or trying to get a stubborn printer to connect to WiFi.
7. Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?
Smart, hardworking, female journalists. Sarah Koenig, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Rukmini Callimachi, Katy Tur, etc…
8. What is your favorite news outlet?
I subscribe to the New York Times and Washington Post. Those are my go-to daily reads. I also use Twitter to get a lot of my news. I follow tons of journalists from different countries and publications and find that’s a good way to get a diverse, global perspective of what’s going on all in one place.
9. Fill in the blank:
- If I am not reporting, I am… Trail running, making my way through a stack of books, or accomplishing something archaic like getting my HAM radio license, building a cabin from scratch, or driving a stick shift in the US.
- If I could interview anyone, it would be… I would time-travel back to the 1930s and spend the day with the teenage versions of my grandparents in rural Ireland.
- My favorite thing about the PNW is… No one expects you to dress up for anything. I could wear flannel to a formal dinner and it would be fine.
10. What is your guilty pleasure?
Going to a movie by myself.
Check out our last Meet the Media where we spotlighted Benjamin Bornstein, a sports columnist for Project Spurs.
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