Sara Sneath, Environmental Reporter at the Victoria Advocate
KU Degree: B.S. in journalism and B.A. in sociology (2013)
Why she’s a Hawk to Watch:
A typical day in the office for Sara could involve wandering through marshes, riding an oyster boat, or waiting by the phone. Such is the life of an environmental journalist. She is the environmental reporter for the Victoria Advocate of Victoria, Texas. She writes about oil, gas, water and coastal issues in the Crossroads, the name given to Victoria because of its proximity to Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio and Austin.
I was named the Local Media Association’s 2015 Journalist of the Year for my environmental coverage in Southeast Texas.
What’s your lowest career moment and how did you pick yourself up and move on?
There’s not a single moment that sticks out. But I’ve been turned down by several jobs and fellowships. It can be pretty soul crushing at times. But it has been my experience that when you get turned down from the job you think will make you happy you begin to realize how many options could actually make you happy.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
I hope to be able to look around my community and see some of the positive impacts I’ve helped to inspire with my reporting. I look forward to better mastering my craft and having a fuller rolodex of environmental sources. I’ hope to have completed the Knight Science Journalism Program or the Ted Scripps Fellowship in Environmental Journalism. But, if I don’t get accepted to a formal program I know that I’ll grow professionally and personally. And, I’m looking forward to how that growth will show in my work.
What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?
When I was 18, I was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. That said, I think even if I was in college at that time I’d say the same thing and, basically, that is that nobody has it more figured out than you do. There are people with more money, better looks, more friends. But none of that means that they have it figured out.
What’s your best career pro-tip?
Don’t spend too much time thinking about how the story you wrote yesterday came out. You made it. You were brave. If there’s something you feel you did wrong, use that to make today’s story better.
What do you do after you’ve clocked out?
I read the newspaper I work for and other newspapers in the community. I listen to podcasts, such as This is Criminal and Living on Earth. I hike with my dog and I bring along my plant and bird guides to try to learn native species. I find nature fascinating, but also I want to be better prepared if there’s a zombie apocalypse.
What is a fun fact about you that no one knows?
A lot of times when I have my headphones on in the office I’m not actually listening to anything. I just wear them so people will leave me alone when I’m on deadline.