Elizabeth Varin’s passion for journalism does not trace back to one singular aspect of the field; she loves the varying adventures of her day-to-day career, the technological and web-based opportunities of news media today. But, above all, Elizabeth loves the pure joy she gets from going out in the world and talking to people.
Despite her young age, Elizabeth is a veteran in the newspaper media field. Her journalism career began at her high school newspaper, she then continued on to be an online and multimedia editor for The Orion at California State University in Chico. However, she credits her internship at The Sacramento Bee in 2008 as the experience that invigorated her passion for journalism. It was there that she expanded her knowledge of videography—inspiring her to combine her love for telling stories with her talent for digital video, photography and web production.
Now, as a leading web reporter for The Aberdeen American News, Elizabeth says “every day is different.” Her career has brought her experiences varying from exploring the cockpit during winter training at a Navy base, to hanging out among buffalo on a ranch in South Dakota.
But through all the varying events and bizarre activities in her career, Elizabeth has gained a deeper appreciation for communication. As she puts it, “if you’re going out there and meeting people and asking them questions face to face, they’re more likely to give you more meaningful responses.” However, for her, it’s not just about getting answers to complete the story—it’s a passion. “I get ideas and inspiration from going out and talking to people, and it makes me a happier person.”
And her happiness shines through in her work. The stories that she’s loved the most are those that have touched people’s emotions and made them feel something. As she says, “If I can impact people and make them happy, that’s what I hope to do.”
Throughout her career, Elizabeth has also exhibited expertise in digital web production and computer skills. She is proficient in over 18 different programs used for videography, photography and web, and produced over 330 videos for The American News in 10 months.
As one of News Media Alliance’s Top 30 Under 30 Award Recipients, Elizabeth cited her young age as a beneficial factor in her technological skills. She says, “There’s always a new thing coming up, and if you get the basics of technology down, you can adapt to it.”
And her adaptability is evident in her constant desire to learn and improve. As Carrie Cole, the Media and Special Projects Director at The American News, says, Elizabeth is “hungry for knowledge” and “shows enthusiasm for all our products, even when covering topics out of her comfort zone.”
And as the world of news media evolves going forward, new things will continue to arise and Elizabeth will continue to adapt. Even through all the change, she is optimistic that our industry will remain important; “I think the basis of what we do now is tell people stories… There will always be a need for that.”
Emma Benninghoff is a student and former communications intern at News Media Alliance.