This month, we sat down with Caitlin Garing, a publishing and journalism professional who also volunteered with The LAMP at Mount Hope this past summer. Read on to learn more about youth journalism in Anchorage, enhanced eBooks and what drew her to The LAMP.
Growing up in Anchorage, you did a lot of work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. How did you move from your work there to an interest in journalism and publishing? Actually, Anchorage, U.S. Fish & Wildlife and journalism are all interconnected. I had moved up to AK just before high school–you know, that point where you’re supposed to decide what you want to do with your life. After discarding the idea of being a fashion designer I got involved with Anchorage’s very active youth journalism projects. One was Perfect World, a weekly section in the Anchorage Daily News written and edited by teens. The other was Alaska Teen Media Institute where teens report stories about what they care about in a monthly radio show. As a result of these two opportunities I decided to major in convergence journalism at the University of Missouri.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was a chance to see the other side of the interview. I wanted to see how public relations and educational outreach worked. So on and off through college I volunteered with the External Affairs department, which was an amazing opportunity with great people. Actually that can be said for all of the programs I’ve worked with.
But of course in college I found my interests shifted from the immediate and constant reporting of news to publishing. In short I’m a book nerd who likes technology.
What are you working on right now? Right now I’m working in the eBooks and audiobooks. Most specifically enhanced eBooks, which takes the reading experience beyond just the text. We include extras such as in depth video interviews with the authors, text extras, and photos not included in the print book to name just a few of the possibilities.
In your experience as a journalist, what have been some of your greatest challenges working in an increasingly digital landscape? I love the digital landscape in both journalism and publishing. For me it was never a challenge so much as an opportunity. Well, other than the hours I spent cursing at the computer/video camera/camera/recorder/pen when it didn’t work how I thought it should. However, one challenge I did see while working in newsrooms as a student was training reporters at an outlet to gain the skills they need to branch out of their traditional form of story telling. The other was digitally reaching rural communities who didn’t have broadband. There are a lot of cool things you can do digitally, but on a dial up connection they simply don’t work.
Ten years from now, what do you think the publishing industry will look like? I have no idea, and that’s exciting.
Do you have a preferred mode of reading–paper book, Kindle/iPad, audiobook? Why? That’s really dependent upon what I’m doing as I’m reading. If I’m traveling or cooking, I love audiobooks. If I’m commuting, I love reading on my iPod Touch- I just can’t afford a dedicated device. Meanwhile when I’m curled up at home I’m typically reading a traditional book.
How do you decide what you want to read in your spare time? I’m a genre junkie. If it’s YA, science fiction, fantasy or a comic book/graphic novel I will most likely jump on it. Especially if the narrator is a strong, sarcastic female character. Typically what I’m actually reading is dependent on what I can swap with my friends, so a lot of it is due to word of mouth. Oh, and the cover, I’m a sucker for a good cover.
What got you interested in volunteering with The LAMP?
Honestly, by its mission and its goal to work on a grassroots level with kids to teach them about all forms of media. I was in a similar program in high school and I can honestly say it had a huge impact on what I studied in college and even what I do now. I wanted the chance to give that back to someone else.
What were some of your favorite LAMP workshop experiences? So far I love working with so many enthusiastic members and volunteers. Everyone I’ve met has been incredibly passionate about The LAMP and its ideas and goals. They all seem to be constantly looking for new ways to expand and new ways to reach more people. It’s so easy to just get swept up in all that positive energy and think, “Oh yeah, I want to be part of this. This is going somewhere!”
Want some of that positive energy? Get involved with The LAMP!