Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Connor Dziawura, who not only serves as assistant editor for the West Valley View, but as a contributing writer for many other Times Media Group publications, including Lovin' Life in Tucson, The Entertainer! and College Times.
How did you get into writing?
As a child, I enjoyed writing – but in a more creative sense. In elementary school, I wrote my own personal novels; however, it never extended beyond that – until college. I had often been told I was a good writer, and when I took a journalism class at Paradise Valley Community College, my teacher, Judy Galbraith, encouraged me rather quickly to become an editor for the school paper, the Puma Press. So I did.
Because I have an interest in various aspects of entertainment – some might consider me to be a music and film nerd – we created my own section of the paper called Behind the Scenes, where I focused on writing about issues and larger subjects in the music industry. I spent two semesters as the Behind the Scenes editor, during which I branched out and did write the occasional concert or album review, etc., as well as a couple political articles for other sections. In my final semester at PVCC, I became editor-in-chief for the Puma Press.
Lengthy details of working at the school paper aside, I didn’t see myself being a reporter or even continuing with journalism. I studied business, though Mrs. Galbraith pushed me to further my writing talents. I owe it all to her.
Tell us how you ended up at the West Valley View and so many other Times Media Group publications?
After my second semester as an editor for the Puma Press, I took a summer internship with Times Media Group. I spent that summer writing primarily for The Entertainer! Magazine and College Times, as well as the occasional news publication.
Long story short, I was brought back to the company as a freelance writer right around my graduation. Eventually, the company acquired the West Valley View and I was brought on board full time. The West Valley View is my focus, though I do get to write articles for our other publications, of which there are many.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Illinois, though I have been in Arizona most of my life.
Favorite type of music?
It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite genre, but I can say – almost certainly – I most frequently listen to hip-hop. Aside from that, I enjoy everything from indie rock to electronic music (think ‘90s trip-hop or big beat), classic rock, new wave, pop and metal; you get the idea. It’s cliché to say I listen to almost everything, I know, so here are some of my favorite artists: Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, The Smiths, Björk, Beck… I’ll stop there.
I guess I’d say a deep blue, but not exactly navy.
Favorite place to visit?
Maybe Illinois. Perhaps it’s because I was born and still have family there, or perhaps it’s because I love the cold.
What are some of your favorite local spots or things to do?
I don’t really visit a lot of local places to the point where I could recommend any. When I’m not working or spending time at home with my dog, I enjoy just going or hanging out with friends in general.
This is kind of a tough one. I’m no chef, so some would say I eat spaghetti too much (Is that really possible, though?), but for rare occasion-type foods when eating at restaurants, I like snow crab or Greek gyros.
Least favorite food?
Surprisingly, I can’t really say I have any one particular least favorite food, though I did grow up rather picky and have since branched out in my tastes.
Three things readers would be surprised to know about you?
I’m not sure of anything that I or anyone I know would necessarily consider to be surprising, so here are three random facts/interests.
What should people be pitching you?
It would be best to pitch me content for the West Valley View, which covers the areas of Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield Park and Tolleson, as well as Tonopah and Waddell. Sections of the paper include: News, Opinion, Business, Sports, Features and Youth (previously School Notes).
What is the lead time you need for content?
The West Valley View is a weekly publication, so if you need something to be published in a specific issue – whether it’s due to the date of an event or anything else – it’s best to give us as much lead time as possible, because we receive a lot of requests and suggestions. I would say at least a couple weeks when feasible, though it’s not unusual for us to accept submissions at the beginning of the week prior to the one in which you would like an article to run. Monthly publications like The Entertainer! Magazine are planned much further in advance, so those need more lead time.
What is the best way to reach you?
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org