#MediaMonday – Tom Blodgett

Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Tom Blodgett, news editor for the Gilbert Independent. In addition to covering the Gilbert news, Tom is also the editorial adviser for The State Press, ASU’s independent student media outlet.

Time to share, Tom!

Where did you grow up?

I was born in western New York but raised in Phoenix with a one-year detour in Brussels when my dad’s job took him there.

How did you get your start in writing? Tell us your story!  

I was an avid newspaper reader, particularly of the Sports section. The old broadsheet Republic was too big for little me when I was growing up, so I would spread it out on the floor and eat my cereal down there while reading the paper. Then in sixth grade, we got an assignment right after winter break to write a news story on what we had done on our break. I hadn’t done anything of note, so I wrote mine as a sports story about ASU beating Nebraska in the 1975 Fiesta Bowl, which I had watched on TV. I guess all that reading of the paper paid off in me being able to mimic the newswriting style. My teacher loved it and just lavished praise on me in front of the class. I knew from that moment what I wanted to do with my life, and I pursued it without interruption thereafter.

Tell us about your outlet and what types of pitches you are looking for. 

The Gilbert Independent is a nonpartisan, hyperlocal paper that is part of the local Independent Newsmedia chain. I look for anything with specific ties to Gilbert — a business, an event, a person who has done something noteworthy, a development of some kind. But the key is hyperlocal. If it’s only kinda near Gilbert, maybe will draw some people from Gilbert, I’m not interested. We cover government, education, transportation, development, business, dining, health care, real estate, public safety issues. We like to have data to back those stories. If a business has just opened or is coming soon, has relocated, is under new management or ownership, closed, reached a milestone anniversary, we have a place for that. We want to help people navigate their lives in town.

What are your favorite stories to work on?  

I like talking to people and hearing their stories. I like explaining issues to people — what the town is going to be doing about water, why housing prices are so far up, how are the schools tackling an issue, etc. I covered high school sports for years at the Phoenix Gazette and Arizona Republic, but I no longer cover sports. Town Council Tuesdays are my new high school football Fridays. It may sound weird, but I get excited for them.

What are some of your hobbies? 

I have two big time commitments outside work and family: I am editorial adviser for The State Press, ASU’s independent student media outlet. And I operate two softball teams, mainly a 16U girls team out of Gilbert but also a women’s fastpitch team in a local league that has a lot of former college players. Both the student journalists and the softball players are important to me.

Favorite movie?  

Tough choice. There are so many that I will stop and watch again when I see them on TV. I’ll go with Dead Poets Society. 

TV show? 

That also could change by the day. Today I will say The West Wing.


Easy — To Kill a Mockingbird. Thanks for reminding me. It’s about time to read it again.

What is the best way to reach you?  

Email at tblodgett@iniusa.org.


Written by
at Sep 26, 2022

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