Young Willamette Writers meet with Journalist Amanda Waldroupe
Journalism is one area where young writers can have an impact while they are still in school. At our January 2nd meeting at the Old Church in downtown Portland, Amanda Waldroupe will come to share about her experiences as a journalist as well as great interviewing techniques.
Amanda is a freelance journalist, which means she writes for multiple publications at the same time. Her work has appeared in international publications like The Guardian and The New York Times, as well Portland newspapers like The Oregonian and Street Roots, the weekly newspaper sold by homeless people. She writes a lot about poverty and homelessness. Most of all, she enjoys writing long-form narratives–stories that talk about news but have characters instead of sources, and scenes instead of the list of facts you read in news stories.
In addition to reporting, she is also writing her first book, about a murder that happened in her hometown of Redmond, Oregon when she grew up there.
Here is what Amanda says about her job and her visit to the Young Willamette Writers:
“The practice of journalism–writing about important events and people, and revealing information that people otherwise would not know–is as important to American democracy as our form of government. Every person deserves equal access to the same information about their society and how their government is working, and that is why journalism is more important than ever.
The best journalists are the ones who are also skilled in creative writing, whether that means writing short stories and fiction, or non-fiction personal essays. Choosing the right word to describe a person or an event, knowing how to write a compelling scene, capturing good dialog, and being able to put yourself in the shoes of people you interview–practicing empathy, or looking at the world through their eyes–can make any news story stand out among others, compelling to read, and interesting and fun to write.
Learning how to interview people to get information and anecdotes no one else can is crucial, and in an interview/writing exercise, we’ll learn how to ask the kind of questions that yield the information you’re looking for.”
As always, Young Willamette Writers meetings are free and open to any student age 13 and up. Visitors need only check in at the door. We meet on the second Tuesday of every month from 7-8 pm at the Old Church at SW 11th and Clay in downtown Portland. We hope to see you there!