Media Monday: Michael Harthorne, Crime Reporter

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: Michael Harthorne, Crime Reporter

Michael HarthorneMichael joined as a community reporter in 2010 and switched to lead crime reporter this February. Prior to that, he spent a few years as reporter, editor and photographer for the Ballard News-Tribune. Michael was born and raised in Seattle and graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in journalism in 2008.

 Q: What’s your favorite story you’ve done in the last week?

A: Last week was a little slow for me for major crime stories (I have a few coming up this week, I swear), so I’m going with a simple story that demonstrates why I love reporting on crime. “Police: Man rips off door-handle ax from downtown store” combines my two favorite things in this job: odd crimes and the completely matter-of-fact way officers report them (“…the manager and his employees were replacing the missing ax with an old frying pan…”).

Q: What skills do new journalists need?

A: I think new journalists need to be able to find and develop their own voice. This was something that took a lot of practice for me, but it’s the reason I have the job I do.  Having a voice and personality in that readers connect with in your writing gives them a reason to seek you out in the very crowded world of online journalism. Still, it’s important to know the rules of traditional journalism before you start breaking them.

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

A: I would probably either still be working for Ride the Ducks, or I would be living in Los Angles while trying to make it as a TV writer and working for whatever Los Angeles’ version of Ride the Ducks is.

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

A: …someone who will actually dig a little bit to help a reporter out with a good answer or unique story idea instead of just giving them a canned line or the most recent press release.

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

A: I was a mathlete in middle school. But, I try to keep my mouth shut and just nod sympathetically when other reporters get together to talk about how bad they are at math. I also have an extensive list of Steve Pool puns.

The PR Pro Takeaway: Michael is set to take the crime reporting world by storm. Good tip to PR Pro’s about presenting him with unique stories, and possibly ideas on a Steve Pool pun. You can follow him on Twitter at @MHarthorneKOMO.

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