Ready for another Meet the Media? This time we’re featuring freelance journalist Tim Newcomb. We don’t always get the chance to interview freelance writers, so we were excited to hear how Tim’s work in journalism varies from other media professionals we’ve talked to. Keep reading below to learn about Tim’s work as a freelancer in the PNW.
How did you find yourself as a freelance journalist?
Growing up in Portland and attending college outside of Vancouver, B.C., I had experienced the journalism worlds of both cities, as a consumer and a contributor. After college I landed a job at a weekly newspaper in Whatcom County and eventually started freelance work as a way to and broaden the fields I covered. Freelance allowed me to write about areas I was personally interested in and learn about new things I wouldn’t have otherwise known. Over the years the freelance connections continued to grow to the point where I now spend all my working hours as a freelancer for a variety of outlets.
Which of your stories are you most proud of?
This is always a tough question, as I’ve written thousands of articles, anywhere from quick-hit news posts to in-depth, long-form features. I’m always most proud of the work that tells the story of another person in a way that hasn’t been told before.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Learning. I’ve been fortunate to cover a wide range of “worlds” during my time as a journalist, everything from top-level professional sports to education and architecture to sneakers. No matter the article, I’m able to continually learn, both about people and about how things work.
What is your interview style?
My goal is to let the subject talk. I try not to interject myself into their story, instead letting them explain their art, craft, creation, perspective or whatever it may be while asking questions that hopefully look at the subject from a different angle than they are used to being asked.
What do you look for in a story?
I enjoy sharing the stories of what people have created. Whether a way to help students learn in the education sector, a new sports stadium or a fresh pair of sneakers, I get to explain the work of someone else. Hopefully I’m approaching those stories with an angle different than the norm in order to give readers new, interesting information they wouldn’t have before known.
What is your day like at your job?
Flexible. I work from home, so I could have phone interviews stacked up one after another or could have a clear day that leads to researching and plenty of writing. I’m also available to spend time with my kids and coach in the community. I start my days early to better match with the schedules of my editors and many interviews based on the East Coast, but enjoy a nice mix of interviews, research and writing every day. And with so many different subjects and “worlds” to write about, every one of those activities varies greatly, even within the same day.
Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?
For me, I greatly value the people who treat other people well. In journalism, as a freelancer, I don’t deal directly with too many other journalists day-in and day-out, but I’m constantly working with a variety of editors. I’m always impressed with the smartness, creativity and kindness I enjoy from a wide variety of my editors, whether Andrew Moseman, Andrew Wright, B.J. Schecter, Rob Knapp, Steve Snyder or many of the other people I get to work with.
What is your favorite news outlet?
The easy answer is anyone I’m writing for: Popular Mechanics, Forbes, Wired, Baseball America, VenuesNow and many of the other publications I’m regularly contributing to. That said, I do follow the outlets I work for and also keep tabs on news via Associated Press.
Fill in the blank:
- If I am not reporting, I am… spending time with my wife and daughters, coaching my kids, coaching or playing tennis.
- If I could interview anyone, it would be… My kids. Yes, there are a handful of celebrities I think would be fascinating to chat with, but what I want to care most about is really getting to know the way my kids think.
- My favorite thing about the PNW is… Constantly being confronted with God’s amazing creation. There is so much to marvel at across the world, so many different facets, but we have some of the best of those in the Pacific Northwest.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Just one? I’d say heist movies, sharp cheddar cheese and sneakers.
Check out our last Meet the Media where we spotlighted Melissa Hellmann, a city reporter at Seattle Weekly.
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