Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Chris Collins


A new name has been added to the bylines of the Baker City Herald this summer.

It belongs to Devan Schwartz, who is spending 10 weeks with the Herald through the Charles Snowden Internship program, sponsored by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. This is the 10th year the Herald has participated in the Snowden program.

In the first half of his internship, Schwartz has profiled Rob and Dianne Ellingson, this year's Fair Family. He told Caleb Johnson's story as Johnson prepared for his last bull ride before the hometown crowd during Miners Jubilee.

And he wrote about the Horseless Carriage Club of America when members traveled to Baker City in their classic cars this summer.

Schwartz graduated from Portland State University this spring with a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing.

He grew up at Bellingham, Wash., and is a 2002 Sehome High School graduate. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and writing from Whitman College at Walla Walla, Wash., in 2006. Along the way he spent a semester in Spain where he honed his Spanish skills.

Schwartz brings experience as a world traveler, a rafting guide and a writing instructor to his summer position.

His guiding expertise and training as a wilderness first responder have taken him to Alaska for a summer job and to Chile where he also wrote for a website and guided outdoor trips. And he floated the Grand Canyon while working as an assistant boatman for Arizona Raft Adventures during a 14-day trip down the Colorado River.

Most recently, he served as a guide on a July 9-13 float trip on the Grande Ronde Run from Minam to Heller Bar near Asotin, Wash.

Schwartz wrote about the experience in a story published in the Travel Section of the July 29 edition of The Sunday Oregonian.

In 2008, Schwartz and his older brother, Jerome, traveled to Israel on a Birthright Trip. Schwartz said the program provides free trips to Israel for American Jews regardless of their engagement with the Jewish community, which was minimal for the two brothers. They extended their trip to include travel to Jordan and Egypt as well.

His teaching experience includes a summer stint at a creative arts camp in Putney, Vt., where he taught play writing and nature writing.

And he's worked as the program director for the nonprofit organization America Scores Seattle. He called on his experience as a socceer player in high school and college to help coach and helped to design and implement writing curricula for the program.

While working as a member of a ski patrol near Salt Lake City in 2008, he wrote freelance articles for the Salt Lake City Weekly. He reported on the Obama campaign's establishment of their first Utah field office and wrote about how snowfall total affects people's views on climate change.

During the course of preparing applications for graduate school, he also wrote a novel.

In the same week that he learned he'd been accepted to a master's program in San Diego, he was offered a summer job in Thailand working for an exile news group. He reported from Thailand on Burmese news and human rights abuses such as government extortion of villagers, forced labor and sexual trafficking. During that time he also had the opportunity to travel to Burma.

Schwartz next spent a year studying in San Diego before returning to the Northwest to complete his graduate studies at PSU.

He said he was encouraged to apply for the Snowden internship by a friend from graduate school who had participated in the program.

Schwartz said his past experience with Baker City had been limited to drive- throughs on his way from Salt Lake City to Walla Walla.

And though it's the smallest community participating in this year's internship program, Schwartz says he's happy to be in Baker City.

"It's a wonderful community, with a rural sensibility that's certainly refreshing after living in Portland for a couple of years," he said. "And it's great to work for a newspaper that takes community journalism seriously and provides a clear service to the entire county."