Friday, July 17, 2009

Hi, I'm Tom.

Hi, this is Tom Hewitt. I’m 26 years old, and I’ve spent 25 of those years in Fairbanks. Unless you count trips to Hawaii when I was little, I’ve never been off the North American continent.

So how does a guy like me get to a place like this?

As I said, I was born in Fairbanks. I graduated from Lathrop High School in 2001, and studied astrophysics at New Mexico Tech for a year before running out of money and returning to Fairbanks and UAF. I stuck with physics for a year or so before I took an amazing computer science class from Kara Nance (she makes more than Alaska’s governor, and judging from the behavior of our governor lately, I’d say Professor Nance is a better deal) and switched concentrations.

I got into journalism relatively late in the game. An interest in video as a hobby led me to a journalism class taught by former professor Rob Prince. While the video aspects of what I learned were valuable, the bigger lesson I learned was that I love telling stories. I dove into journalism soon thereafter, and it feels like coming home.

My focus in journalism thus far has been a kind of three-pronged affair. I really enjoy print, and that’s where I’ve done a great deal of my professional work so far. With my computer science background, I’m also heavily into new media and the web – right now there’s no question that the future of journalism is online. Finally, I got into journalism for video and that’s still a great love for me – cutting a video story together is one of my favorite pastimes.

I’ve been writing for the UAF newspaper, The Sun Star, for the past year, and upon my return from Iraq I will take over there as editor-in-chief. I was recently elected to a position on the Alaska Press Club’s board of directors, and have enjoyed my experience there so far.

Right now it’s summer, so I have a summer job – actually a couple. I’m a First Mate at the Riverboat Discovery, a popular Fairbanks visitor attraction, where I enjoy being out on the Chena River every day and making sure that the thousand or so folks that take the tour every day have a great time. I’m also a systems administrator and IT coordinator at Information Insights, a local consulting firm cofounded by current UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers and longtime friend Ellen Ganley.

I’m tremendously excited for Iraq. I think that the thing I’m looking forward to most is all the stories over there waiting to be told. We’ll do what we can to bring them home for you.

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