The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Evergreeners revisit rural Inland Northwest

Rural Reporting Plunge into WA, ID communities returns
Team Birch posing in front of Goertzen Hall, the pre-Rural Reporting Plunge meeting point, Sept. 29, Pullman, Wash.

For about 24 hours, Daily Evergreen reporters and editors alike joined dozens of other WSU students in this year’s Rural Reporting Plunge from Sept. 29–30.

The Plunge is an annual trip wherein teams of WSU students visit rural towns in Washington and Idaho, some driving as far as three hours away from WSU Pullman to these lesser-known communities. There, the students find and report on local stories.

Here are a few Evergreeners’ experiences.

Tate Young

A woman selling soap at a farmer’s market, St. Maries, Idaho.

My fellow teammates on Team Spruce and I found ourselves, on the chance of fate, headed to St. Maries, Idaho, on Sept. 29. Our goal was to explore the town, find some stories to be told and practice our fledgling journalism skills.

Although St. Maries is small, it was bustling with activity when we arrived, and we found no shortage of events to explore.

There was an event featuring hundreds of locals’ photo portraits on display waiting for friends or family members to recognize and claim them, with some photographs stretching back to the ‘30s and ‘40s.

A jerky salesperson selling puppies and a woman selling soap to fund a dog were both open for business at a local farmer’s market.

A local high school held a football game in memorial of a beloved sports coach who recently died.

Exploring such a rich and connected community with the rest of Team Spruce was extremely rewarding.

Shown animals at the Lewis County Fair, Sept. 29, Nezperce, Idaho.

Gabrielle Feliciano

I and my teammates on Team Spruce drove an hour and a half east from Pullman into Western Idaho on Sept. 29. Our destination: Nezperce, Idaho, population 466.

Upon arrival, we visited the Nezperce Community Library, where we introduced ourselves to a librarian and some of the town’s locals.

We then headed just a few blocks away into the heart of Nezperce, toward the Lewis County Fair — the event of the year in this small town.

The fair took place on the Lewis County Fairgrounds and in a few local halls. There, we were met with dozens of locals and days’ worth of activity.

At the fairgrounds were barns showing hundreds of local animals, including cows, pigs, goats, chickens and rabbits. Next to the enclosures in the barn housing cows, pigs and goats, a group of competitors led their cows in a circle one after another as locals watched. Two souvenir stands and some food trucks were parked just outside, with fairgoers eating and chatting on nearby picnic benches.

Two halls right next to the fairgrounds showed artwork, photography, crafts, food, flowers, table arrangements and more, all owned and/or created by locals.

Some Nezperce-area locals have gone on to compete at other fairs on the national level. Needless to say, me and my teammates left Nezperce on Sept. 30 with more than a few story leads.

Sicaly Sorrell

During the rural reporting plunge, I had the pleasure of teaming up with some incredibly talented journalism students to cover interesting stories. For my group, we visited Lewiston Idaho, and Lapwai, Idaho.

It was a fun experience for me because most of my stories as a student journalist come from class assignments, so I pretty much report in the same area which often leads to me interviewing people I have previously interviewed for other stories. Covering stories in Idaho put me in a new environment where I was able to talk with people I had never interviewed before and take effective notes for potential stories.

The trip was completely independent of Murrow faculty so your communication skills are really put to the test because you’re no longer protected by an academic bubble of your professors.

While there were a lot of fun moments that occurred on the trip, my favorite moment was covering the Lapwai High School football homecoming game.

This is a moment I will always look back on and appreciate because I was given the opportunity to speak with some of the people who represent the Lapwai community. While covering this game, I got to speak with the high school football coach as well as one of the players on the team. For me, it was the brief but impactful moments of conversation that I appreciated the most about this trip.

To be able to cover a story in a small community and then be able to share it with others was truly a great feeling. It makes me excited for what’s in store for my journalism career post-college because I now have more confidence in being able to cover stories in new environments that I know little about.

Sam Taylor

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of traveling to the Lewiston and Lapwai, Idaho, area for the 2023 Murrow College Rural Reporting Plunge.

Supporters of the Snake River Dam Campaign canoe down the Snake River for a flotilla to support the removal of lower Snake River Dams, Sept. 30, 2023 at Hells Gate State Park in Lewiston, Idaho.

I had the pleasure of working with three of Murrow’s brightest: Cole Quinn, Brooke Bovenkamp and Sicaly Sorrell. Together, we visited interesting places, spoke to incredible people and braved a dirt road, twice. Driving down a dirt road shortly after it had rained was something that we as three Western Washington kids and a Northern California kid were painfully unfamiliar with.

Nonetheless, I loved every minute of the trip. I am most thankful to each person who spoke and shared their story with us. Thank you to Josh Nellesen, a teacher at Lapwai High School for your hospitality and openness. I really appreciated the chance to see how your students and community approached the Homecoming football game with such genuine joy and spirit.

The next day, we drove to Hells Gate State Park in Lewiston to cover the All Our Relations Snake River Dam Campaign flotilla. Passionate speakers from the Nez Perce Tribe and neighboring Pacific Northwest tribes spoke about the importance of a healthy salmon population, not just for their tribe but for everyone. It was a privilege to witness the reverence and respect extended by each speaker to the natural world and the importance of caring for all living things.

Our thanks to Julian Matthews for welcoming us to the event.

For any Murrow students considering the Rural Reporting Plunge, take the plunge and do it. It is such a rewarding experience to walk into a community, be trusted with people’s stories and pay attention to the world around you.

Thank you Murrow College and each person that made this trip a success.

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About the Contributors
GABRIELLE FELICIANO, Evergreen life editor
Gabrielle is a junior from Chicago majoring in multimedia journalism. She has been a part of the Daily Evergreen since spring 2022. She is passionate about the arts, entertainment and everything in between.
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.

Comments (3)

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  • Paul NickellOct 12, 2023 at 11:49 pm

    As a ’77 (Comm) alum, I can relate to this story. Thanks for posting. Some things have changed, but a lot is still the same. Did you know that 50 years ago, juniors and seniors were allowed to be stationed at those newspapers for an ENTIRE semester — and get full credit for it! That’s the way it was!

    • Linda CarlsonOct 13, 2023 at 4:40 pm

      No more? I was one of the first, class of 1973. In many cases that year, our internships resulted in job offers.

  • Margaret DonelickOct 11, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    The Latah County fair is held in Moscow idaho, not Nezperce. Perhaps you went to the Nez Percepción County Fair.