After about three years with the Kodiak Daily Mirror, James Brooks is saying his goodbyes. The editor of Kodiak’s only daily print publication recently accepted a job with the Capital City Weekly in Juneau, and will be relocating there next month.
Brooks said he applied for the job after a friend in Juneau called him and told him about the opening.
“It’s never something I would have thought of on my own, but she called me up and said ‘hey I think you’d be a great fit for this job.’ And I said sure I’d put in for it, because I’m happy here, but low and behold it came up. And it took me weeks to think about this and say do I really want to do this because I’m happy here, I like Kodiak and I want to stay to stay in Kodiak. But you know, you always wonder what if. And whenever an opportunity comes up, there are so many trite sayings out there to grab every opportunity you can to see something new. And I think if I didn’t try something different I’d always wonder what if.”
Brooks said he will be assistant editing the Juneau Empire when needed, in addition to editing the Capital City Weekly.
Before Brooks came to Kodiak three years ago he was working for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. He said it was fun to come to a smaller town and focus on local news and different industries than those in the interior.
“The thing in Fairbanks is mining, oil industry. In Kodiak it’s fishing, that’s what drives the economy here. That’s the biggest difference. And from that flows a lot of different interest in resources.”
Brooks said covering the fishing industry was probably the biggest learning curve he encountered here in Kodiak.
“Because with fishing you have a whole new language, and especially covering fishing, if any of your listeners have ever gone to these big North Pacific meetings or state fishery meetings, fisheries biologists especially have a whole language of jargon that’s completely difficult. If you go as an individual without that background it’s extremely difficult to decipher everything, it’s almost literally code you have to decipher to say well, GOA that’s Gulf of Alaska. And you have all kinds of different terms and abbreviations and it’s my job to decipher and to translate into plain English.”
During his time in Kodiak, Brooks said he covered topics ranging from the Kulluk oil drilling rig to photographing a salmon-themed river wedding.
Overall he said he thoroughly enjoyed his time here in Kodiak. He said he’s looking forward to tackling coastal topics with a Southeast perspective, and also seeing what new issues he will be able to cover.
“It’s a different angle on fisheries, too. There are no trawlers in Southeast, so it’s something different on that approach. And tourism is much heavier in Southeast, so that’s another angle that I’m going to have to look at as well. But, Alaska is a huge place. In Fairbanks I saw something, in Kodiak I saw something new and in Southeast I hope I see something still newer, and different. It’s not better, it’s not worse, it’s just different. And it’s new and because I’m involved in news that excites me, that gets me interested.”
Brooks’ last day with the Mirror will be February 3 and he will leave Kodiak shortly after that. He said the paper is currently in the hiring process to replace him and general assignment reporter Nicole Klauss who took a job in Washington last week.