Media Mondays: Warren Kagarise

Each Monday, we’re giving readers a chance to get to know the media a little better. With a little flair.

Our goal is to give readers some insight into the work and work style of area journalists, and get to know a little bit about the person behind the byline. Start your week off with an online networking opportunity through our Media Monday blog post.

This week: Warren Kagarise, The Issaquah Press

Warren Kagarise often squeezes his biography into the length of a Tweet: newspaper journalist, aspiring restaurant critic and the person behind The Issaquah Press’s Tweeting salmon.

Kagarise moved to Seattle in February 2009. He graduated from the University of Florida, and held newspaper and public relations posts in the Sunshine State.

Not long after arriving in Washington, Kagarise introduced social media to The Issaquah Press newsroom. Nowadays, he maintains the newspaper’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, covers Issaquah and King County government, and oversees issaquahpress.com.

Just last year the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association honored Kagarise as News Writer of the Year, a top honor for a community newspaper journalist in the state.

Q: If you weren’t working at your current job, what would you be doing?

A: I’d hopefully be a reporter at another news organization with the same dedication to the surrounding community.

Q: What’s your favorite kind of story?

A: One that delivers something unexpected.

Q: Finish this sentence: “A good PR person is …”

A: “…persuasive, but not pushy.” I am infinitely impressed by the PR professionals who can deliver something extra — exclusive access, maybe, or a snappy photo. In other words, something to grab my — and by extension, my readers’ — attention.

Q: Press releases: Love them or hate them?

A: As a rule, I love press releases, especially if they contain information I can share with readers immediately. In fact, the idea for a months-long investigation I undertook about a long-forgotten missing child case came from a short King County Sheriff’s Office press release.

Q: How has social media changed what you do?

A: To employ the overworked phrase of political journalists everywhere, social media has been a game-changer. The Issaquah Press, augmented by Twitter and Facebook, is a newspaper more responsive to readers and a trusted source for up-to-the-minute updates during major events.

Last September, as a gunman menaced downtown Issaquah, Twitter and Facebook served as invaluable reporting tools, connecting my colleagues and me to sources and information inaccessible from behind the police cordon.

Q: What hidden talent or skill do you have that viewers/readers don’t know about you?

A: I have a secret knack for home improvement and craft-ish projects. Last Halloween, I created a pattern and carved The Issaquah Press’ jumping salmon emblem into a pumpkin.

The PR Pro Takeaway:

Kagarise is a dedicated, hard-working journalist who likes a little finesse in his dealings with public relations professionals. Take note: Save some good material for Kagarise; he’ll appreciate what you’ve got to offer and will make good use of it.

As a social media enthusiast, Kagarise is going to move fast with information he’s got on hand. Play a good social engagement game with him and it will pay off.

Finally, his region is specific. Realize what is important to the people of Issaquah and Warren is likely to be a good contact.

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