On only the second day of the job reporter Dan Trujillo was already shaping up stories for this week’s edition of The Reflector. A feature on a local foraging expert and program cuts in Battle Ground middle schools were on the budget for the newest addition to the paper’s writing staff.
Those stories wouldn’t be the first time Trujillo’s name has been in an edition of The Reflector, as he had articles and photos published as a freelancer briefly before starting as a full-time reporter for the paper May 1.
Readers in southeast Clark County might recognize Trujillo’s name — he spent 12 years as a sports reporter for the Camas-Washougal Post-Record. Trujillo has reported in the county for nearly two decades, starting out as a sports clerk for The Columbian in 1999.
His few months hiatus from full-time work at a paper made the plunge back into newswriting a nice return for Trujillo. Born in Oakland, he and his family eventually settled in Vancouver in 1990. A 1998 graduate of Evergreen High School, he attended both Clark College and Washington State University-Vancouver where he received an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree in English, respectively.
Following 2017, a year that saw Trujillo win several awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association including Sports Writer of the Year, he felt it time for a new challenge, hence the decision to take on freelancing. Apart from bringing his sportswriting talent to The Reflector, Trujillo will be covering the areas of Hockinson, Amboy, Yacolt, Battle Ground and La Center, save city government.
Trujillo said he was looking forward to getting acquainted with North Clark County, noting a more rural flavor compared to the Columbia River Gorge area. A chance to write about new locales and schools was “a breath of fresh air” for the veteran writer.
Those who have seen a recent issue of The Reflector have been able to catch a preview of both Trujillo’s writing as well as his photography, a passion of his that began with his career at the Post-Record. He said one of his favorite things to do was hike in the many scenic spots in the region, honing his shooting skills on the scenery.
“I could sit and photograph a waterfall for an hour and just get lost in it,” Trujillo said, commenting that sometimes his wife and hiking partner, Marlena, has to break the trance to continue on the journey.
“It’s just nice to go somewhere, anywhere with a camera and just get lost in the landscape and try to capture it,” Trujillo remarked.
Trujillo lives in Vancouver with Marlena and their Jack Russell Terrier, Foxy. He said he looks forward to making connections and building relationships with North County residents in order to have a pulse on the region, allowing him to “tell stories that haven’t been told or tell them in different ways each time” to provide a different perspective.
For more long-term projects Trujillo eyed getting The Reflector fully-integrated with social media to assure the paper’s digital presence rivals its storied print history in impact.
Editor of The Reflector Jonathan Haukaas commented both on Trujillo’s experience and attitude as assets to the news team.
“Getting Dan to slide into a position that we already know he has success at is very exciting,” Haukaas said, adding that Trujillo’s familiarity with Clark County is another plus.
In the newsroom, Trujillo’s passion for journalism is infectious, as Haukaas noted high spirits from the paper’s newest writer as a benefit for the whole team.
“The passion he has for his craft energizes the newsroom” Haukaas said. “He just loves journalism.”