Readers of the Cottage Grove Sentinel will be seeing a new face at sporting events and school board meetings with Nick Snyder taking over as The Sentinel’s new sports and education reporter.
Zach Silva, who held the position since 2017, spent the last two weeks bringing Snyder up to speed before heading to Coos Bay to work for the daily newspaper The World.
“Having Nick in Cottage Grove and at The Sentinel is just a joy,” Silva said of working with Snyder and preparing him for his new position. “He’s eager to learn, ready to get to know the communities we serve and is going to be a great addition to both the paper and the community.”
Snyder attended the University of Oregon, graduating in 2011 with majors in Comparative Literature and German and Scandinavian Studies.
After graduation, he found he wanted to travel the world, which he did as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, moving to Wuhan, China.
While there, he taught English and experienced Asian culture for the next four years. In 2015, Snyder returned to the U.S. and lived in Beaverton, Ore., where he worked as a librarian at Beaver Acres Elementary School before making his way back to Lane County.
Despite not having a long history in journalism, Snyder said he is ready to accept the challenges and rewards of working at a strong community-based newspaper like The Sentinel.
“I think there are a lot of crossover skills — that kind of merging of analytical thinking and creative side — that can serve the newspaper and journalism well,” said Snyder, who is already getting to know the town of Cottage Grove on multiple levels.
Sentinel managing editor Ned Hickson said that Snyder hit all of the points he looks for in a reporter, especially one who covers the community-oriented areas of sports and education.
“Covering those subjects requires someone who can really build relationships and trust with people — players, coaches, administrators — and I could see right away that Nick had that ability,” Hickson said. “Once I read his writing samples, I knew he would be a great fit. And having Zach in on that process was terrific. It was as important to him as it was to me that we make a smooth transition.”
Snyder said that some of his friends from college who majored in journalism would be happy to know he’s working at The Sentinel because, according to Snyder, they told him he should have pursued it from the beginning.
“Even though I kind of knew I would enjoy it and that it would be fulfilling work for me, I thought ‘I should leave that to [journalism majors],’” said Snyder. “Then I said, ‘Forget that, I’m going to go for it and see what happens.”
It was the same approach he took to stepping out of his comfort zone and embarking on his four-year adventure in China, learning its culture, people and community — experiences he feels will serve him well in his new role at The Sentinel.
“Now I’m here, and I’m very excited, very happy to be here,” Snyder said. “We all have a story to tell and every community has depth. Both professionally and personally, I’m looking forward to getting to know the area and tell those stories.”