'Nine Questions' with Correspondent Michelle Taylor
In a series of interviews leading up to the official launch of Neuse News on June 27, we are introducing you to the people behind the scenes of the endeavor.
Neuse News: How important is this community to you?
Michelle Taylor: It is very important to me. This is my home. My family and friends are part of the fabric of this community. I love this area and the career opportunities it's provided.
NN: What does community journalism mean to you?
MT: Community journalism means covering local government and economic issues that affect everyone in Lenoir County. People want to know what happened at the high school football game or which new businesses are coming to our area. If there's a school board meeting, concerned citizens want and need to know what transpired. It's also important to recognize the accomplishments of our citizens on a local level.
NN: What do you believe you can bring to Neuse News?
MT: I'm passionate about this community and equally passionate about writing. I believe this combination will be an asset to Neuse News.
NN: What has been the best and worst moment for you in the industry?
MT: One of my best moments was interviewing culinary expert/television host Andrew Zimmern. Not only was that a big moment for me but also for our community on a national level. One of the worst moments was covering the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. It was difficult to interview people while they were dealing with devastation and loss, but I was grateful to be able to tell their story.
NN: Who were your influences in the industry?
MT: From a young age, I always wanted to be a novelist or a journalist. My high school journalism teacher Mrs. Zimmerman was a big influence, as was a journalist-turned-educator neighbor during my childhood who answered any questions I threw at her. Since entering the world of journalism as a profession, my colleagues have been the biggest influence.
NN: What do you believe has been lacking when it comes to local news?
MT: It seems local news is getting the short shrift and being replaced by regional coverage from outside of Lenoir County. There are lots of things going on in our backyard and I'm looking forward to writing those stories.
NN: What are some of your hobbies?
MT: In my spare time, I write short stories and fantasy stories. I love fishing and spending time on the beach. I also love to cook and bake.
NN: As a teacher, what are some of the most important topics in the school system needing conversation?
MT: Funding is a big topic and I think that conversation is one-sided. Higher teacher pay is always a concern but supplies, equipment, and technology are also limited and need additional funding. I also feel that there should be more focus on how to prepare students for the future, whether its a trade, college or the military.
NN: Overall, where do you see Neuse News in six months? One year? Five years?
Within six months I believe it will be the largest news entity in Lenoir County. A year from now I think we could expand our coverage to other counties. By 2023 this news-gathering model will be known throughout Eastern Carolina.