Conflict of Interest Back to the Farm
posted by December 19 at 16:05 PMon
Late last May, Sarah Mirk arrived in town and started as The Stranger’s news intern.
It became obvious to the news team right away that this reliable, mature, and witty young woman—in accordance with her “I Amaze Myself” lapel pin— was no ordinary intern. And after she filed some fat stories for us like this one about immigration law, we realized we weren’t as screwed as we could’ve been when news writer Thomas Francis left The Stranger for a job in Florida.
He left in August, and I offered Mirk a job.
Unfortunately, Sarah was only 19 years old and had two more years left to go in college. (Mirk goes to Grinnell College in Iowa.) Savage and I tried to talk her into dropping out of college. Certainly, a whip-smart chick like Sarah would be bored with college by now, we figured, and would jump at the opportunity to take a real job. After all, isn’t that what college is for? Getting a job?
Well, Mirk surprised me again. She’s in deep at college: Editing her campus paper and plugging into local programs (she teaches history at a nearby prison). And she wouldn’t dream of bailing out of school with two years to go. I was disappointed, but secretly inspired by Mirk’s level-headed, self-aware response: She needs to grab all the opportunities at hand—including two more years in Iowa.
Luckily, she was also having a great time busting up The Stranger newsroom. And so, she cancelled the first semester of her junior year (there had been plans to study in Ecuador) and opted to stay on at the paper through December, covering for us while we found Francis’s replacement. (That would be Angela Valdez!)
I’m glad we got those four months out of Sarah Mirk. She continued to bang it up in the newsroom, writing stories about:
… Or as Sarah laments in her staff bio: She’s “paid to cover the news stories no one else wants to write.”
Meanwhile, her conniving sense of humor and street smarts started shining on Slog. Her Hugh Foskett interview on election night—and her Governor Gregoire interview!!— were instant classics.
Additionally, Sarah hit Slog with news stories we couldn’t fit in the paper—like her fine-tuned take on the politics of faith-based initiatives and her report on the immigration rights community meeting in Bellingham.
We’re more than halfway through December now and junior year is calling. (Today is her last day.)
There was a goodbye party Saturday night (it was the 233rd anniversary of the Boston Tea Party—so, it was a serious theme party), where staff got a chance to salute her in person—and in style. It’s surprising how many brands of whiskey seem to have colonial themes.
But I wanted to give her a public nod here on Slog. We’ll miss your work Smirk. And you too.
Good luck bumpin’ in “History of Ecology” class.