Today’s #MediaMonday comes from a longtime Valley media person, but someone who is still relatively new to the East Valley Tribune, just joining the staff as editor in April. I first met Ralph Zubiate at the 2016 SPJ Valley Publicity Summit , have since been in the audience for a PRSA Media Breakfast where he was a panelist, and sat down for a coffee meeting with him and my coworker Rachel.
So Ralph, time to share.
What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
I read a lot. Boy, do I read a lot.
I read non-fiction, mostly history, with a little biography thrown in for good measure. I don’t spend time with fiction because there’s little truth there. I’m curious to find out new things, new facts. That must be the journalist in me.
I think that curiosity serves me well as a journalist. That curiosity to find the truth needs to be at the center of who a journalist is.
I spent 20 years with The Arizona Republic in a variety of positions, from copy editor to news copy desk chief to wire editor to online producer. I was thankful to keep growing and learning there.
Then, the inevitable for a journalist these days: I was laid off. If you notice, those layoffs seem to keep coming and coming in the newspaper world.
I got a couple of different positions editing afterward, but after seven years in exile in the world of marketing, I wanted to go back to newspapers. I never thought it’d happen again, but it did. I came to the East Valley Tribune in April.
Now, I’m having a blast doing it all – editing, assigning stories and photos, working with designers and sales, even writing for our Sunday-only paper.
This also gives me a chance to write about one of my favorite subjects: Faith. Newspapers don’t do a very good job reporting on people of faith, other than terrorism and the like. Fortunately, the Tribune had a Faith page when I arrived.
I like to write about real people and how they live with their real beliefs. So far, I’ve covered a Russian icon’s visit to a Greek Orthodox church, a local Catholic’s celebration of the canonization of Mother Teresa, and how a Jewish couple takes care of an eruv around Chandler – a string that unites the Jewish community. I think these stories have made for a great Sunday read.
So back to the reading. I get my books on the cheap: Clearance section of Half-Price Books, markdowns at Barnes & Noble, remainders Dollar Tree and Big Lots (really!) and even nice used books at Goodwill.
If you like nonfiction, here are my five favorite recommendations, in no particular order:
I also review books at my own site, ralphsbooks.wordpress.com.
If you have a story you want to pitch to Ralph and is relevant to one of the Tribune’s four core cities (Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert), you can send him email at email@example.com. And something I’ve learned from him—be sure to put what area of the Valley a story is relevant to in the subject line.