Letter from the Life editor: Giving voice to community

Section should offer new insight into local businesses, events

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen life editor

I was probably in second grade when I discovered my love of writing. I grew up with the fictional worlds brought to me in the Harry Potter novels — which I still reread on a regular basis — in addition to The Hunger Games trilogy.

As I grew up, I became more fascinated instead with stories from our world, stories like the ones of Christopher McCandless, who rebranded himself as “Alexander Supertramp” and became the enigmatic subject of Jon Krakauer’s posthumous biography on him, “Into the Wild.”

There’s a specific type of journalistic beauty in Krakauer’s ability to capture the personality, internal thoughts and actions of a young man without ever meeting him. If you’re looking for a first great nonfiction book to read, I highly recommend it.

A lot of what journalists do and write is characterized and sometimes defined by its controversy. Unfortunately, a news headline that reads, “Public officials did their job well again,” isn’t worthy for the readers to know.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing. People in a society deserve to know when those in power aren’t doing their jobs or are actively covering up shady activities.

But it gets exhausting, especially in this day and age, when the news cycle is both constant and contentious.

Life, as a section, holds a special place in my heart. My old editor Latisha was a quiet, kind-hearted spirit that made me care about The Daily Evergreen even when it became more stressful than enjoyable. In essence, that’s the attitude I want driving this section.

Journalism isn’t always about controversy or watchdog reporting — sometimes it’s about giving a real voice to the small, undetected corners where most of us reside.

If news is the river that rushes quickly past, intense and ever-changing, then Life represents the quiet houses on each side of the bank. Most of us are passengers on the daily news cycle, watching helplessly as another scandal hits headlines everywhere.

The interesting and exciting things Pullman, Moscow and Colfax have to offer from local business owners, student clubs and more are often left behind in the intensity of the regular news day. This semester I want to dedicate this section to exactly them — the passionate individuals who work to make this an interwoven community.

I moved here from Las Vegas, Nevada. Along with WSU, I was accepted into University of Washington and University of Portland, and was highly tempted to move to the familiarity of what I knew — a big city.

My mom, the most clear-minded person I know, convinced me that attending school in a smaller town was a rewarding experience not worth passing up. Though Seattle seemed to call my name, I obviously decided to leave and come here — by far the best decision I could have made, even if it was an adjustment.

Small towns, especially ones like Pullman that are far from the rest of civilization, create an environment unique only to those who live there. I can tell anyone about the Las Vegas Strip and they’ll know what I’m referring to, even if their viewpoint isn’t necessarily correct — no, I don’t live in a hotel.

But you can’t tell just anyone about Reaney Park, the Holland-Terrell Library skylight or the burgers at Cougar Country Drive-In. In that sense, only those who live here can really share that experience. Our community is enriched with hidden gems.

Journalism is a serious endeavor, especially in an era marked by incredible partisanship and hostility toward people in media. My own roommate Justin constantly teases me about working for “fake, liberal news.” I’ll leave the politics to the writers at News and Opinion — hopefully when you open the Life section of the newspaper, you’ll be treated to a break from all of that.

I want to include as many puppies, beer-related events and lively business owners as possible. I can’t wait to begin my second year at WSU and my second semester as Life editor.