Paul Hackbarth has been a reporter in Rolla since June of last year. That is, until Monday, when he was promoted to managing editor of The Rolla Daily News.
Paul Hackbarth has been a reporter in Rolla since June of last year.
That is, until Monday, when he was promoted to managing editor of The Rolla Daily News.
Prior to making Phelps County his home last summer, Hackbarth was a reporter at the Washington Missourian, a twice-a-week newspaper in Washington, Mo., where he spent four years learning the ropes of hands-on journalism.
Paul took some time this week to tell us his story.
How do you feel about being named the new managing editor for the Rolla Daily News? I came to the Daily News in hopes of one day down the road working my way up, but I didn't expect that day to come so soon. The previous editor, Lynn Brennan, was a great editor and I learned a lot from her in my time here.
How long have you been a journalist? This is my fifth year at a city newspaper, but I also worked four years at the University of Missouri-St. Louis student newspaper, The Current, including editor-in-chief my last year.
When did you realize journalism was your choice of occupation? Did you have any other career plans? The path I took to a career in journalism surprises a lot of people. I actually began college as a pre-med student, but when I joined The Current, I fell in love with journalism. I always liked writing when I was younger, too.
What do you like most about working in Rolla? Being a reporter at the Rolla Daily News offered me a chance to work in the same city that my dad went to college in. He was a University of Missouri-Rolla graduate who majored in civil engineering.
Who is your best friend and why? This may seem corny, but I'd have to say my sister. It's funny how since I've moved away, it seems like we have grown closer. She has also always supported me in my decisions.
Some people say newspapers are dying. What do you think the medium needs to survive in the digital age? The fact of the matter is, news is always going to happen and there will always be reporters needed to tell the stories, not only of accidents and fires, but of people. While other forms of media offer a 30-second clip, newspapers are one of the last places you can get full in-depth coverage. But the web and social media should not be ignored. They can be integrated and add value to our print product. Also, there's nothing like the feel of ink on paper.
What do you like/dislike about journalism? I like being able to tell other people's stories. Journalism offers me a chance to meet new people every single day and do things I wouldn't normally get the chance to do, like ride along with a sheriff's deputy, shoot a weapon at police training or take a ride in a seat belt simulator, all things I have done in my first year at the Rolla Daily News. I feel sometimes that people have a distrust of media, so overcoming that can be difficult at times.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I hope to still be in the journalism career field or have some sort of community/public relations position.
Who is your favorite historical figure? Abraham Lincoln and maybe it's because I grew up on the Land of Lincoln (Illinois).
What time do you wake up in the morning and what is the first thing you think about? My schedule depends on when I have meetings or events to cover. I do like to sleep in on the weekends when I have the chance. And the first thought that pops into my head is, “what do I have to do today and what's one fun thing I can do?”
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why? My sister, nephew and I took a trip out west last summer to the Grand Canyon and I thought to myself at that time, how wonderful would it be to watch a beautiful sunset like this everyday. But I also like living in the city, where you have many opportunities and can meet a lot of people.