It seems fitting that it took me over six and a half years here at the Columbia Basin Herald to write a column.
See, Iím a pretty quiet guy. I cling to the walls and avoid the center at all costs.
I donít like to be in front of the camera.
My least favorite part of my job is listening to my own recorded voice. Nice stammer, Connor.
I often ask myself how I got into this industry. How did the quiet kid who never wanted to bother anyone take a job that required so much social interaction?
There are simple answers.
A friend convinced me to give The Observer ó Central Washington Universityís student newspaper ó another chance after spending a quarter as a sports reporter. I was lucky enough to become the assistant sports editor and had the opportunity to spend time in the newsroom learning from people I still admire tremendously.
The managing editor for most of my time at The Observer, Katharine Lotze, now works for Getty Images. My sports editor Danny Schmidt, who also ascended to managing editor at CWU, worked as a writer for the Marin Independent-Journal in northern California and is an endless inspiration to me. Everyone who was in the Observer newsroom late Tuesdays and early Wednesdays taught me so much about writing, design and photography. I owe much of my willingness to pursue this career to them.
I also needed to move out of my momís house post-graduation, but thatís reductive.
My dad, like me, is introverted. He watches baseball games with the sound off, he and my stepmother have had company over for dinner less than five times and one of our pastimes is going to the movies.
No talking for two hours? Mutual bliss for a pair of introverts.
However, he doesnít work some isolationist job. He is an accounting professor at Edmonds Community College. In addition to his teaching duties, my dad has donated much of his time coaching ó from Marysville-Pilchuck High School softball to Mariner High School baseball. He was the varsity coach at Mariner for a season before moving down to JV, which allowed him to focus more on teaching the game he loves.
I love to write, and I love to tell this communityís stories. I feel a swell of pride when I am complimented on a story or picture, and I constantly look for ways to improve when I receive criticism, constructive or otherwise, for my coverage.
That means I have to fight against my own instincts.
So be it.
Connor Vanderweyst can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He sometimes goes so long in silence that his coworkers check to make sure heís still breathing.