Full Court Press’s Dan Cohen recently interviewed Caitlin Fillmore – a former reporter and current nonprofit communications professional about her experiences reporting in Northern Iowa. Below is a fascinating look into her job as a rural reporter. Caitlin now serves as the Executive Director of Association and Brand Advancement for the Central Coast YMCA in California.
What inspired you to become a reporter?
I am the baby of five, so the allure of knowing something first and having people say to me, “I didn’t realize that!” was irresistible. I’ve also always had a natural affinity and passion for writing and a deep belief that everyone has a meaningful story worth telling, especially in underserved and forgotten places.
What was special about covering small-towns in northern Iowa?
In small towns, it’s all about “who your people are”. Every time I would introduce myself to someone or set up an interview, the second question was almost always, “Where are you from?” “Are you related to so-and-so?” That sometimes made it challenging to get the job done because I did not share DNA with anyone I was interviewing, but a welcome challenge because it provided a great foundation for my future career in philanthropy: know who you are, always be authentic and genuinely curious and build relationships built on trust.