LONG BEACH — New Chinook Observer reporter Katheryn Houghton is a world-traveler, but says living at the beach and working in rural Pacific County will be its own kind of adventure.
“This place is definitely another culture,” Houghton said. “I like the idea of diving into community reporting.”
Houghton, 23, is a graduate from the University of Montana where she studied journalism and Arabic. She grew up in Kentucky and lived, most recently, in Montana, but has traveled far from home in the Middle Eastern countries of Oman, Israel and Palestine. Though she hopes to one day work overseas, she jumped at the opportunity to live in a new state and work on a community paper, “learning to be intertwined with the community as a reporter,” she said.
She worked at the University of Montana’s daily student newspaper as a reporter and then as breaking news editor, and has interned at newspapers and magazines in Montana. Though she enjoyed all these experiences, she said she is interested in the community connections and relationships she’ll be able to build while working at a small weekly.
As a reporter for the Chinook Observer, she will report on the city of Ilwaco and the Ocean Beach School District. Her passion is reporting on stories that deal with social justice issues. Her two-part series on the challenges Washington communities face as cases of dementia increase appeared in recent issues. In these stories, she explored how rural communities, like those on the Long Beach Peninsula, have fewer resources to face this situation.
Houghton was drawn to journalism at a young age, seeing it as a way to bring together various interests: writing, traveling and talking to people.
“It’s a job where you’re just talking to people who have something important to say to the community,” she said. “You’re right there in the middle of stories that should be told. ... You get to experience other people’s lives.”