We first profiled Michelle “Shelly” Talsma Everson back in 2016, when she shared a little about her life as well as her work as managing editor of Arizona Health & Living Magazine and as a prolific freelance writer. All these years later, she is still with AZ Health & Living as well as freelancing, but she has also added a slew of new jobs to her resume, including as editor of EG Publishing's six community newspapers – Deer Valley Times, North Tatum Times, North 32nd News, Scottsdale North News, The Scottsdale Standard and Upper Westsider – and as a writer for Echo Magazine, among others.
So, Shelly, time to share again!
Tell us how you got your start in writing?
I’ve been writing for forever – high school newspaper, school district writing contests, an online blog (remember LiveJournal?), and all of the writing and journalism classes I could take. It started with my love of poetry and went on from there. I eventually went to NAU, where I majored in journalism and public relations. There, I was an editor for the school newspaper and on the school radio station, along with PR internships.
Tell us how you came to start working in the Valley media scene?
In summer 2008, right after graduation, I was hired as an intern by Michelle Glicksman (who is amazing!), and from there, was the associate editor of its sister publication in 2010. (My son, my favorite “intern,” was born that year, too!) From there, I began working with Arizona Health & Living, and also worked in PR as well. I’ve always had a foot (or two) in both worlds.
Since we last talked, I worked for three years as the PR coordinator for Duet: Partners In Health & Aging, a local nonprofit that helps seniors in a variety of ways. I still donate to the organization and help to spread the word whenever I can. In April, I was hired as the editor of EG Publishing’s six hyper local newspapers, and just wrapped up my second issue with them, so that’s my main squeeze. I also still am a local editor for AZHL, and write for Echo monthly, too.
Tell us about the outlets and types of story pitches you want for each?
All of EG Publishing’s six newspapers are hyper local—they feature the businesses and stories of the zip codes they serve. Combined, they’re mailed to 120,000 homes in those zip codes, plus they have some rack locations.
We feature local (to those zip codes) business news, info from local school districts, and city news. We also leave room for fun, feel-good community news, entertainment reviews, restaurant and dining news, health articles, things to do with the kids, travel features, and more. Essentially, if it’s happening in those zip codes, we want to know about it! Like most of our advertisers and supporters, we’re a small business, so we really appreciate community input and support.
At Arizona Health & Living, we prefer pitches based on community, nonprofit, feel-good type news. (Local in this case means the Valley.) AZHL is also home to a new website, so check that out!
Last but certainly not least, I write monthly for Echo magazine, the Valley’s LGBTQ+ publication. While I’m just a freelance writer there, all pitches for that magazine need to have an LGBTQ+ component. I love that publication because LGBTQ+ rights are important to me—plus I get to cover some fun stuff!
And, when I can, I write for other local lifestyle pubs – sometimes working with Michelle Glicksman who helped give me my start!
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Denver, but grew up in the Southeast Valley – mainly Mesa and Gilbert
Favorite type of music?
I love, love, love hip-hop. Although my son hates it!
Favorite TV shows or movies?
My son and I are currently watching the Simpsons on Disney plus. We’re in 2010 right now.