Washington state’s Newswriter of the Year, Warren Kagarise, stopped by a University of Washington journalism class this morning to share his professional advice with students and to answer questions regarding his path to success.
Kagarise has been a reporter for The Issaquah Press since February of 2009. He moved across the country from his home state of Florida to take the job, stating that it presented “a chance to get to know Seattle,” something that he had always wanted to do. He explained to students that during this time, there was little to no presence of social media in the newspaper world. Later that year, his newsroom got word of a possible shooting that may have been taking place in Issaquah, but they had no concrete leads on where exactly the shooter might be. After the shooting turned out to be a hoax, Karagise suggested using Twitter as an outlet to correspond with the public for future fast-breaking cases such as this. The Issaquah Press launched its Twitter account in July of 2009.
Kagarise shared another experience that happened nearly a year later when a gang shooting had taken place at the Lake Sammamish State Park. Thanks to Twitter, Kagarise and other Issaquah Press reporters were able to correspond with sources and gather information before they had even arrived at the scene. This would have never been possible without the means of social media as an investigative assistant . Therefore, it has been deemed worthy by many, if not all, media outlets in today’s newsworld as an aid for obtaining information and sources for stories when there is a need to break news as quickly as possible.
When asked about the stresses of becoming a journalist, Kagarise explained that a reporter must always strive to hit three main objectives for every story that they cover: 1. Ask yourself, why would readers care about this? 2. The best stories are stories that include the perspectives of real, relatable people, and 3. Context (including history behind the story, the urgency of the story, etc.) are key. He stressed that without addressing these things, a story is not worth a reader’s time.
“The great thing about being a reporter, though,” he added, “is that it’s your job to learn.”
For Kagarise, a passion for knowledge and the thrill of the chase is what keeps his job exciting.