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.