Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?
Travis Lazarcyk “fell into journalism” after spending a few years as a sports information director in public relations at a ski resort. Eventually, when searching for a way to get out of the PR industry, transitioning to journalism became the clear path to take. Lazarcyk took a job at a small paper in Berlin, NH and learned on the job. He has spent 20 years as a Sports Reporter for The Kennebec Journal and The Morning Sentinel in Augusta and Waterville, Maine. According to Lazarcyk, “Too many people have been brainwashed into thinking reporters are their adversary, but really they are a resource.”
Which aspects of your work do you find the most challenging? The most rewarding?
TL: These days, the most challenging thing for me is working from home. Not because I have trouble self motivating, but because I miss seeing my friends and colleagues in the newsroom. I miss talking about the stories we’re working on, and the feeling when a big story is breaking. The most rewarding thing has always been the thanks I receive from the subjects and readers of my stories.
What learnings have made a tremendous difference in your career?
TL: The only journalism course I took in college was an intro course that fell apart midway through the semester with the professor’s absence. So much of what I know, I learned how to do on the job. For me, it’s been the little things. Always make that extra phone call. Write succinctly. If you’re not 100% sure about something, ask questions until you are. That’s how I think I’ve grown from a writer into a reporter. Even still, I think I have a lot to learn.
What do you see as some of journalism’s biggest potential pitfalls? And what gives you hope for the future of journalism?
TL: In the race to be first, we often forget to be thorough, or verify the veracity of a story. My hope for the future of journalism comes from the energetic young reporters I work with, and the pushback I’ve seen over the past few years to “fake news” nonsense.
What do you think about the role of technology in journalism? Is it helpful? harmful? Something in between?
TL: It’s in between, but closer to helpful. I like social media. I find Twitter a great way to get news to readers quickly, and also for some old fashioned tomfoolery. I think I’m good at both. The problem arises when we get too focused on being first and not on being right.
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February 14, 2023