#MediaMonday – Megan Taros
Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Megan Taros, who writes about South Phoenix for AZ Central.
So, Megan, time to share!
Tell us how you got your start in writing? Tell us your story!
I’ve always loved reading and writing. As a child I had a notebook of rhymes and poems I wrote — and it’s something I continue to do. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I realized I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with that. I don’t quite remember how I got on this topic with my 9th grade English teacher, but I said to her that I didn’t really want to pursue a creative writing career and I also wanted to help people.
“You could be a journalist,” she said as if it were the most casual thing in the world. I’d always read the paper because my parents set that example for me – and I couldn’t believe the answer to my problem was right in front of my face every single morning. I never wanted to be anything else since then! I graduated with a degree in journalism from San Francisco State University and moved to New York City for seven years after that. I wrote for some small, online digital publications about Latino affairs, government and education. I returned to school and got my master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
After all those years only ever living in big cities, I moved to rural Twin Falls, Idaho, to cover Latino affairs in an area with one of the highest Latino populations in the state. There I made alliances with the Spanish-language radio station and Latino affairs reporters in Boise. I held listening sessions for the area’s Latinos and dissected vital agricultural issues — in a state that largely depends on its ag industries to support its economy — through a lens not often written about.
Tell us how you came to start working in the Valley media scene?
At my last job, in Idaho, I launched a Latino affairs beat to cover the growing Latino community there. Not long after, the Arizona Republic advertised a job under the Report for America program, which I am a part of, to launch its first-ever South Phoenix beat. I was excited to jump back into a larger market and explore a community that hasn’t received as much media attention as it should.
Tell us about the outlet and types of story pitches you want?
My primary focus is on equity issues in South Phoenix’s Black and Latino communities, which includes city policy decisions, development trends and how Valley-wide issues affect South Phoenix specifically (eg. affordable housing, urban heat island effect, having a stable internet connection, etc.). I am also seeking stories about outstanding people, nonprofits or businesses that operate in and serve South Phoenix.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in San Pedro, Calif., in Los Angeles County. It is an annexed part of the City of Los Angeles because it is home to the Port of Los Angeles. So, unbeknownst to even some Angelenos, it is considered the City of Los Angeles and has its own seat on the L.A. City Council, as opposed to its own mayor.
Favorite type of music?
I really do love a mix of music from Simon and Garfunkel to Kendrick Lamar to Johnny Cash. But I’d have to say my favorite music is ‘60s and ‘70s rock. It brings back memories of listening to music in the car with my dad.
Favorite TV shows or movies?
I’m a classic (s1-s9) Simpsons fanatic! I used to go to trivia every month (and even won some prizes a few times) and got a whole Simpsons-themed manicure! Lately, my boyfriend and I have been getting back into Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.
I didn’t become a big movie-watcher until a few years ago, but I’ve always enjoyed Donnie Darko and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Favorite local restaurants or other haunts?
I am a big fan of Da Vang! Easily the best Vietnamese food I’ve ever had – even better than anywhere in L.A., San Francisco and NYC that I visited. My favorite bar so far is Thunderbird Lounge. I also like Wrigley Mansion for the views and history lessons. I love to hike at Piestewa Peak and Dreamy Draw.
Least favorite food?
I’ve seldom met a food I didn’t like, but I can only stand raisins as a snack straight from the box. I hate them in desserts and I especially hate them in savory dishes. I’ve also never been that big of a fan of menudo.
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