In wrapping up our Lake County EXPO spotlights on various community members who will be having one or multiple booths at our big event this weekend, I asked all of my interviewees what they were most looking for? All of their responses were talking about how they wanted to make themselves more known to the community and continue to build and maintain relationships. 

Building relationships is a great rule of thumb to live by, not just for journalists but for everybody. 

I remember my first semester on the newspaper staff in college, I was having the hardest time trying to get an interview with the track coach so I could set up an interview with him and one of his star runners, who was from Jamaica. I had finally tracked him down in the hallway of the athletics building. He told me he wasn’t sure if he was comfortable talking to me, because of some inaccurate reporting that had been done before I had come aboard. Long story short, I convinced him to give me the interview and let my writing do the talking. Sure enough, as soon as he read the article that published in the newspaper, he immediately told me that whatever I needed, to just let him know. It was like that for all of the coaches, I came across. I had to prove myself. Even though I’m at a weekly newspaper in Lakeview, nothing’s changed. 

The semester after I graduated, my alma mater got football back for the first time in 75 years. Luckily I was still able to get the first interview with the coach, before NBC and CBS, because when they announced it, I was still a student (It was a big moment for me). 

A lot of what I do, is for the future. Sure getting these interviews was big for my career, but it’s about the future. The “foundation” that I laid, while I was in college, was for everyone else who succeeded me and what those people choose to do with it, is on them. 

It’s no secret that journalists as a whole get a bad name, for many different reasons and the sad reality is it can ruin it for everybody. 

With everything happening in our everyday lives, it’s easy to forget the little things and become “stagnant” in our jobs. 

It’s always important to never stop building relationships. I look at  it as two parts: building that professional relationship and the second one is maintaining that relationship.

I love talking to people. I always encourage people to come talk to me, if I’m at a sporting event, or any event around town. Sometimes I get so caught up in everyday life and things I need to get accomplished at work or what I have coming up, I lose sight of what’s around me. That includes people, but don’t let that deter you from talking to me. 

My relationship with people or a lot of times, my job doesn’t stop when that clock hits 5:30 p.m. I’m approachable at all hours of the day. So if you have a joke, or have a question about something I wrote or want to make fun because one of my Minnesota teams loses, or if Arizona loses to Oregon in basketball or football come track me down! 

I’ll gladly talk with people about most anything.


— Michael Acosta  

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