Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa knows her way around an Arizona newsroom.
Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc. will be the third Arizona media company she has worked for in her career. Previously she worked for the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff and the Kingman Daily Miner. She comes to us after a short stint at The Register-Guard in Eugene, Oregon, returning to Arizona to be closer to family and “get out of the snow.”
Suzanne has a strong background in government reporting and has won numerous awards from the Arizona Press Club and Arizona Newspapers Association since coming to the state in 2006. She will be covering Casa Grande city government and schools for PinalCentral and the Casa Grande Dispatch.
She ventured out to Arizona from her native Ohio, where she graduated from Kent State University, because she “wanted a change of scenery.”
It was her father who first suggested she become a journalist when she was in middle school because she enjoyed writing so much.
“It stewed in the back of my mind all through high school and I decided to try it when I got to college,” she told me in an email interview. “I found that journalism incorporated a number of my favorite hobbies including photography, writing and learning new things. It also pushed me out of my bubble and forced me to talk to people I normally wouldn’t have contact with.”
While her father got her interested in journalism, it was her eighth grade social studies teacher who taught her the importance of being as accurate as possible, citing sources, meeting deadlines and never “getting behind the eight ball.”
“Staying ahead of the eight ball was a lot easier in eighth grade,” she said.
The person who had the most influence on her early career was, of course, her first editor. “(He) taught a raw reporter how to learn from her mistakes, that county budgets can be a never-ending source of stories, punny headlines can be works of art and not to take life too seriously, especially on deadline on election night.”
Suzanne has covered a variety of beats and written on various subjects during her career, including crime, business, city government and education. But her favorite stories to write, regardless of the subject, are those that focus on people in the community.
“This includes writing features about interesting residents or events, hard news stories about how a city council decision might affect a neighborhood or the latest criminal hijinks,” she said.
However, the story she is most proud of dealt with a very sensitive topic: suicide. She delved into the topic of suicide and depression in a multimedia package for The Register-Guard.
“The fact that Sara Scofield, who survived her suicide attempt and is now an advocate for suicide prevention, was willing to talk to me on video about her experiences was incredible,” she said. “It allowed me to give readers a different viewpoint on the issue.”
When she isn’t being a journalist, Suzanne enjoys spending time with her family and knitting.
“On my off hours I try to coax my three-year-old to eat something other than applesauce. I devour books and articles on history, politics, journalism, running and science fiction/fantasy,” she said. “Occasionally, I find time to squeeze in a run around the block at the end of the day.”
The former high school cross country runner says she is glad to be back in Arizona, where she is in awe of the overall beauty of the state but also impressed by the frankness of the people.
“I like how most Arizona residents are not afraid to voice their opinions.”
That is a trait she will find many in Pinal County have, including her cranky old editor.
Reporter Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assistant Managing Editor Andy Howell can be reached at email@example.com.