For this week’s Meet the Media, we’d like you to meet Morgan Theophil, a writer whose work has been featured in the Eugene Weekly, The Register-Guard and IJNET.
1. How did you find yourself writing articles for Eugene Weekly and iJNET?
The short answer: People believed in me. I knew that it would be valuable to gain any journalism experience before graduation in the spring, so in the midst of looking into different opportunities last year I was connected with Eugene Weekly from a few professors and mentors who thought it would be a great place to start. I’ve been an intern there for over six months. In November I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Solutions Journalism Network Summit in Sundance, Utah, and upon returning home I was encouraged to write about what I’d learned, and was able to publish the story with the International Journalists’ Network. The same mentors have only encouraged me to continue pursuing these opportunities, so I am soon beginning a full-time internship at The Register-Guard. Even while being a full-time student, choosing to juggle these experiences has been invaluable.
2. Which of your stories are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of a story that I haven’t actually published yet, oddly enough. I’ve been working on an investigative story about the criminalization of homelessness for about six months, and have spent countless hours working on the many facets of this project. I’ve conducted many interviews with lawyers, city officials and homeless individuals; dug into numerous public records, Oregon laws and police files; and have had to learn to overcome many challenges and setbacks amid pursuing what I hope becomes a powerful story. It’s been the most challenging yet rewarding story of my career thus far.
3. What is your favorite thing about your job?
I love the thought of my work making a difference in the world. I haven’t necessarily reached that level yet, but even the times when I’ve gotten a direct, positive response from a story, I feel empowered. Knowing that real people read my work — and someday my work might change something in the world for the better — is the greatest feeling.
4. What is your interview style?
Conversational but directed. I’ve found that a comfortable, relaxed environment encourages people to open up, but that direction is often necessary to make sure the interview stays on the right track.
5. What do you look for in a story?
Relevance, newsworthiness, passion and emotion.
6. What is a day like at your job?
At Eugene Weekly I spend a good portion of my time reviewing and editing stories to get better at copyediting and reporting via checking other people’s works. I consistently check in with the editor, Camilla Mortensen, to discuss stories I’m working on, receive feedback and share further story ideas. From there, I go out and make the stories happen!
7. Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?
I don’t know if I have one specific person I look up to most in the journalism industry. The mentors I mentioned are all professors at the University of Oregon — Brent Walth, Kathryn Thier, Nicole Dahmen to name a few — and they have all drastically supported, encouraged and inspired me with the powerful work they’ve done in the industry and with their passion to lead others, like myself, to do the same.
8. What is your favorite news outlet?
The New York Times
9. Fill in the blank:
- If I am not reporting, I am… trekking on through my last year of college.
- If I could interview anyone, it would be… the new publisher of The New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger.
- My favorite thing about the PNW is… the natural beauty that thrives even during the rainy seasons.
10. What is your guilty pleasure?
Girly, over-dramatic teen television shows.
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