Seattle Times editor Iniguez to be alum speaker at virtual ceremony for December grads
According to Alex Iniguez (BS ’11, journalism), assistant metro editor at The Seattle Times, one thing that can't really be taught in college is “the grind”—a daily devotion to work that helps manage tough days on the job. However, Iniguez said his time as a journalism student prepared him to work hard, regardless of his career path.
“My College of Media degree is worth a lot to me, first and foremost,” he said. “I felt like I thrived in a smaller environment in the College of Media compared to the large U of I umbrella, which was a good fit for me in other ways. And I'd be remiss to not mention [The Daily Illini]. The DI was a huge part of my development, and I still meet people who worked at the DI in the wild, which is always a pleasure.”
Iniguez was selected to be the alumni speaker at a virtual ceremony to honor College of Media December 2020 graduates.
“Alex has broad news coverage experience, having reported on both sports and recent events, including the protests, in Seattle. As a recent alum, and an emerging leader in the media industry, he will have helpful advice to share with our newest graduates,” said Dean Tracy Sulkin.
Previously an assistant sports editor at The Seattle Times, Iniguez was promoted to assistant metro editor, effective November 30. His job shifted focus this summer when he spent four months assisting with coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and racial justice protests before returning to sports.
“My previous stint in metro earlier in the pandemic made me finally accept and truly know my skills are transferable,” he said. “I can work in metro for the same reasons I can work in sports. If you're a well-rounded and prepared journalist, the possibilities are great.”
He took on the role as editor for The Seattle Times’ news section over the summer at the height of the George Floyd protests, which he said was a fascinating experience. During a couple of shifts, he took feeds from reporters via email, Slack, and WordPress, and published them to the newspaper’s website in real time, “providing a valuable and up-close look at our community.”
“I enjoyed understanding the protests and protesters better, which I largely accomplished by watching hours of [Facebook, Periscope, and Twitch] livestreams from the streets. Seeing that kind of passion, relentlessness, and dedication, and understanding where and why those feelings exist was inspiring and made me understand our world more,” he said.
At The Seattle Times, his coverage has included the Seattle Sounders’ 2019 Major League Soccer Cup title; the establishment of a National Hockey League team in Seattle and the announcement of its name; former Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball player Ichiro Suzuki’s retirement in Japan; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's midnight contract extension; and political donations made by the Seahawks.
Recognized for his talents, Iniguez was accepted into the Poynter Institute’s 2021 Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media. The yearlong program trains journalists of color working in digital media to thrive, fosters honest discourse about the challenges for journalists of color in management roles, and provides the connections, confidence, and skills to confront them.
He said the most rewarding aspect of his career is his ability to work with journalists who have the same level of curiosity as his own.
“We get to take our curiosities, spend time researching them, and, ultimately, provide some information that might help people understand their surroundings more,” he said. “That's a powerful feeling.”
For aspiring journalists, he has one message: Brace yourself.
“I don't mean that as a warning,” he said. “But journalism is a wild ride. You never know what you'll see or hear, and you never know where your work might take you. It's a thrilling career, if you're willing to go for a ride.”
Furthermore, he wishes December 2020 graduates well with their future.
“I know this is a really hard time to be coming out of school, but if you turn on your survival mode, you will figure it out,” he said. “You have time to find your place, personally and professionally. Take the time to think intently about where you want to be and what kind of person you want to be. That will guide you on your career path.”
—Kimberly Belser, Communications and Marketing Intern