Natasha Wasinski

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Photo by Rebekah Baer

A Pioneer of Journalism

“Once while jogging along the lakefront, I ran past someone sitting on the rocks, with a Phoenix paper in hand, opened to the page where I had a story. It was neat to witness my work being read. Nowadays, I seem to get that same feeling by seeing my articles rack up ‘likes’ online.”

Natasha Wasinski, 28, graduated from Loyola in 2007 with a degree in communication. She currently freelances for Pioneer Press and describes her work as requiring much patience. Although she was initially drawn to journalism because of her interest in social justice, she described her career similar to a winding path.

“It wasn’t a straight shot for me getting into this field,” Wasinski said.

Pioneer Press is a collection of 32 weekly suburban publications that are under Sun-Times Media. A large part of Wasinski’s coverage revolves around Lincolnwood’s School District 74, which has had an interesting year with residents’ concerns over improper fiscal management.

Although she is the main reporter for District 74, Wasinski covers a multitude of other subjects, which makes everyday different for her. Averaging eight stories per week with an ever-changing schedule, she knows her work requires flexibility.

“There is no 9 to 5 in journalism,” Wasinski said.

As she has covered a multitude of stories, Wasinki has had some interesting experiences including counting the number of homeless people on the streets at 2 a.m. with West Suburban PADS, getting a hair makeover, talking to “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol” final contestants, and interviewing two 90-year-old brothers who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II.

“One unique aspect about being a communication major is having transferable skills that are valued by all types of industries and organizations: corporations, non-profits, government, media, small business. I’m not limited by what I can pursue because good writers are always in demand,” Wasinski said.

Because of these transferable skills, Wasinski was able to get a job out of college with Illinois Legal Aid Online. There, she worked with budgets, crafted press releases, managed social networking platforms, and maintained and updated the organization’s website.

While she was still at Loyola, Wasinski was a marketing intern for Loran Marketing Group, an all-female run company where she learned about basic aspects of running a business as well as working with client reports.

This internship was right on the heels of her days at Loyola’s student newspaper, the Loyola Phoenix, where she served as an assistant news editor for two years. She remembers her years with the Phoenix fondly as she credits them with teaching her just how to write a news story.

As a working journalist, Wasinski believes recent graduates in her field need to be open and flexible, but most importantly patient.

“That first job out of college doesn’t have to be your final job,” Wasinski said. “You’ll want to shoot for the top immediately, but it takes time.”

Wasinski knows that what she does now will payoff in the end.  She also remarked that she would would eventually like to become a health reporter.

“I’m getting the experience and clips under my belt because I know I can still aim higher,” she said.

By Bea Brittan