Baurick heads to Boulder

This is a column I wrote for last Friday’s Bainbridge Islander, a weekly newspaper also published by the Sun. Change the references to “Islander” to “Kitsap Sun,” and it’ll make sense to the broad audience. Essentially, I’m explaining a really great opportunity for one of our reporters and a feather in the cap for the paper, and how we’ll adjust over the next nine months.
—David

Beginning next week you’ll stop seeing a familiar name in the Islander.

I’m not hinting at another city hall departure, but rather one from our own office: Bainbridge Island staff reporter Tristan Baurick is temporarily leaving the Kitsap Sun and Bainbridge Islander.

It’s nothing against us, or this community. Tristan’s opted to take advantage of an experience that any journalist would jump at. He’ll spend the next nine months in Boulder, Colo., studying at the University of Colorado as a Ted E. Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism. He leaves with the paper’s blessing and our encouragement, and leaves us with a hint of pride due to the company he’s in: only four others were selected for the 2012-13 class, and they writers from the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press New Delhi bureau, Spokane’s Spokesman-Review and a freelance photojournalist who’s been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and others. Pretty heady bunch.

Tristan’s been primarily a city government reporter for us, of course, though he’s long had an interest in the environment as well. In fact, when he interviewed for his staff job he told me that was a career aspiration, and he’s done some good work on environmental issues that affect the island over the years. During his time in Boulder Tristan won’t be writing for any publication, but he’ll have a well-deserved opportunity to study science and writing in a university setting, take field trips with other fellows, think about issues without the daily pressure of a deadline, and simply recharge his batteries for journalism.

At the Sun we’re lucky to have had reporter Chris Dunagan over the years writing about environmental issues that include land use, salmon restoration, Puget Sound and Hood Canal  (Dunagan’s even written a book on that waterway). This doesn’t mean Tristan will return to Kitsap County to supplant Dunagan. He plans to return to cover the island’s news, giving the Kitsap Sun and Islander even more expertise on an issue that is of great importance in our region and our world.

In the meantime, you can still expect consistent coverage of the island and a byline that you’ve seen periodically (including in this edition) will become more frequent. That’s because Tad Sooter, a North Kitsap resident who’s written for us on a freelance basis for the past year and is an experienced writer and photographer from his time with weekly newspapers around here, will be contributing on a more permanent basis. Tad’s been writing about personalities and issues on the island for the past few months, and will dive into the new, broader assignment next week. Contact him at tad.sooter@gmail.com with story ideas or tips.

I’m eager to watch the Islander’s continued growth with contributions from Tad and the other Kitsap Sun reporters who cover island news, arts and sports, as we keep bringing you a quality weekly newspaper. I’m also excited for the opportunity Tristan has coming up — maybe a little jealous, in truth — and we all wish him well as he enters a new chapter in his professional life. Please join me in doing so.

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