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Journalism

Robot typing
Summer 2017

Robowriters

Subject. Verb. Object.

These are the basic building blocks of written communication. It’s what you need to make a complete sentence like the one you’re reading now.

Structured. Logical. Direct.

This also is why parts of my chosen career are ripe for takeover by robots.

For millions of Americans, the defining realization of how fast artificial intelligence is evolving came in 2011 when Watson — IBM’s now-celebrated language processing computer — won the popular TV quiz show Jeopardy by beating two of the game’s top champions.

I watched with fascination as well. But, for me, the point was driven home even harder a few years … » More …

Spring 2017

Anna King ’00

Growing up in the foothills of Mount Rainier, Anna King ’00 figured she’d end up either a veterinarian or a writer. Her family ran a small cattle farm in Roy, and she loved animals.

King participated in 4-H projects, raising animals but also giving presentations that taught her to communicate with an audience. When a TV reporter from the Seattle area paid a visit to her high school class, she remembers thinking, “This person is so smart, so edgy, so inspiring.”

The Honors College alumna worked for several newspapers in the Puget Sound area, including the Puyallup Herald. She figured … » More …

Orcas
Winter 2012

Chris Dunagan ’74, ’75—Bearing witness to the sights and smells of our soggy backyard

If you cover the waterfront the way Chris Dunagan does, you have to expect a fair amount of smells. There’s the fresh, tangy scent of estuary and the mild musk of beach wrack. There’s the stench of rotting shellfish during the great Oyster Rescue of 2010, and the outsized rot of a beached gray whale. Dunagan, 60, has documented a lot of beached whales, although the numbers are hard to nail down.

Counting just grays, not killer whales or humpbacks or dead whale reports over the phone, he says, “I’ve probably gone out to 20.”

Dunagan (biochemistry ’74, ’75 communications) has been the environmental reporter … » More …

Winter 2009

Map: Changes in Washington state newspapers

Not that many years ago Washington’s legislature was covered by more than 30 journalists from around the state. Now that number is eight. The Seattle Times no longer has a bureau on the east side of Lake Washington, and a print Post-Intelligencer no longer exists. Who will give us information and investigation when the papers have all gone?

Read “Paper Cuts” by Hannelore Sudermann in the Winter 2009 issue of Washington State Magazine.

Click a newspaper or online news source on the map below to read about changes in Washington state media.

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Winter 2009

Paper cuts

Not that many years ago Washington's legislature was covered by more than 30 journalists from around the state. Now that number is eight. The Seattle Times no longer has a bureau on the east side of Lake Washington, and a print Post-Intelligencer no longer exists. Who will give us information and investigation when the papers have all gone? » More ...
Winter 2006

The sportswriter

If Janie McCauley were telling this story, she wouldn’t bury the lead. She’d say right away that she is the Associated Press’s 2006 Sports Writer of the Year.

 Add a little color, some solid quotes like, “I was surprised to get the award. There are so many good writers doing good stories all around the country,” and a few action words like “dwell,” “delve,” and “dive,” and that’s where many writers would stop.

But Janie looks for the story beneath the story. She dwells on details, delves into players’ personal interests, dives into their lives outside of the stadiums and ball parks.

As far back … » More …

Summer 2006

Journalism's grandest prize

On the morning of Tuesday, May 20, 1980, journalists arrived at The Daily News, turned on their computers, and were greeted with the daily message from managing editor Bob Gaston (’67 Journ.). That day’s message was far from typical.

This was two days after the devastating eruption of Mount St. Helens and less than 24 hours after the Longview newspaper staff published an astounding 45 of its own stories and numerous jaw-dropping photographs of the deadly blast.

Although his exact words are lost to time, the gist of Gaston’s message to the newsroom was this: After just one issue, there was a tremendous buzz in … » More …