Two journalists recently joined the Standard-Examiner staff.
Ben Zack, a photojournalist, started last week. He is a child of the west, growing up in Spokane, Wash., where his father worked for the U.S. Forest Service.
After high school, Ben attended Northern Arizona University for a year, then spent six years in a variety of other pursuits, including working for AmeriCorps in St. Louis and spending a season as a wildland firefighter in Oregon.
He settled in at the University of Missouri, where he graduated in December with a degree in journalism and a minor in forestry.
“It’s been a roundabout road,” Ben said, “not at all a straight path.”
As a high school student, he worked for the Spokane paper’s teen page, similar to the Standard-Examiner’s TX!
His interest in photojournalism grew from a hobby into a way to tell stories, using his camera to do so.
Ben maintains a strong interest in science, hence his forestry degree.
“I grew up in the woods,” he says. “I’ll take any excuse I can to get outside.”
And the outdoors is where he likes to spend his time — hiking, biking, camping, canoeing and cross-country skiing. But downhill skiing, not so much.
“Maybe once a year. I’m not very good,” he says.
While still in college in Missouri, Ben had a job working on a bat research project. Broadly speaking, the researchers looked at how changes in forests impacted the bat population.
When he accepted our job offer, Ben left that project behind. But the family is well-represented. His wife, Anna, is finishing her studies in wildlife and took his place on the bat project team.
In contrast, Bubba Brown, our second new staffer, is a home-grown product. He grew up in Roy and graduated from Roy High School and then the University of Utah.
To address the obvious, Bubba is not his given name. “It’s Matthew. My dad called me Bubba as a baby and it just stuck.”
It does serve as an ice-breaker, though. Bubba estimates that he’s asked about his name about 90 percent of the time when he meets somebody new.
Bubba is our new night police/general assignment reporter. You may be familiar with his byline as the result of free-lance work he has done for us, mainly covering prep sports.
Baseball is his first love, he says, with an estimated 90 percent of his leisure time involved with the sport in some way. He did a summer internship at Baseball America while in college and, he says, “loved it.”
Based on early returns, he can more than hold his own in newsroom discussions with other baseball aficionados. (How many of you baseball fans can casually drop the name of the scouting director of the Houston Astros into conversation, without benefit of Google?)
He also played the game for three years at Roy High, mainly pitching and catching.
As far as the other 10 percent of Bubba’s leisure time, it’s “movies, music and friends, pretty typical for a 22-year-old.”
And journalism? Bubba’s in it because he loves to tell stories. His ambition is to write magazine long-form pieces.
“I like to give a perspective of what people do and tell what their life is like,” he said.
Bubba spent this past week learning the ropes of the night beat, and takes over on Tuesday. Scott Schwebke, our current night reporter, will move back to a day shift.
Dave Greiling is managing editor. You can reach him at 801-625-4224 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.