Ashley Nerbovig, 26, moved from Seattle to the Peninsula in August to work as a reporter for he weekly Chinook Observer in Long Beach

Ashley Nerbovig, 26, moved from Seattle to the Peninsula in August to work as a reporter for the weekly Chinook Observer newspaper in Long Beach.

PENINSULA — A Pacific Northwest native with a passion for dogged reporting is joining the Chinook Observer.

Ashley Nerbovig, 26, moved from Seattle to the Peninsula in August to work as a reporter for the newspaper in Long Beach.

Nerbovig has worked in newsrooms from Montana to North Carolina. In her career, she has worked for traditional newspapers and digital publications. After working for a few years, she returned to school and graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Montana in 2018.

Internships, work experiences influence approach

Nerbovig interned with The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a prominent newspaper in Little Rock, and in New York with The Marshall Project, a non-profit online journalism organization focused on criminal justice. She worked for the Billings Gazette for two years as its justice reporter.

Arkansas Online taught me a lot about digital first. It was a family-owned newspaper that was trying a lot of new, experimental things,” Nerbovig said. “It taught me that taking risks often rewards and doing things perfectly isn’t important when you’re trying to get stuff off the ground.”

While interning at The Marshall Project, Nerbovig learned about data reporting.

“[Data Reporter] Anna Flagg gave me a glimpse into how to use data and sort it. It taught me a different perspective of how to view criminal justice,” she said.

The Marshall Project forced her to consider new perspectives when it came to reporting on criminal justice.

Nerbovig worked on a story about a person committed to a psychiatric unit in New Hampshire and later transferred to a prison psychiatric unit without being officially convicted of a crime.

Nerbovig is drawn to watchdog reporting. When a community is presented with a problem it doesn’t know it has, such reporting often works to address it, she said.

Her experiences in Montana made Nerbovig think more broadly when reporting on issues. She became interested in the relationship between cities and their rural communities.

Nerbovig worked for a business journal in North Carolina, but the desire to report in her home state drew her back to the Pacific Northwest.

“I missed the local news aspect,” Nerbovig said, adding that she relocated to Seattle and resumed her journalism job search while working as a patient care coordinator for her childhood dentist, Fremont Dental, before ultimately accepting a position with the Observer in Long Beach.

“I wanted to contribute to the state that I had benefited the most from, and that was Washington,” she said.

A week into the job, Nerbovig is still getting unpacked and settled on the Peninsula with her cat, ‘Scampers,’ but is eager to report on local issues.

Luke Whittaker is a staff writer for Coast River Business Journal and the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or lwhittaker@crbizjournal.com.

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