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Staff Q&As: Meet multiplatform journalist Sarah Chain

Sarah ChainTo help you get to know our newsroom staff a bit better, a series of question-and-answer posts with each journalist will run on Mondays. This morning, meet Sarah Chain, books editor and a multiplatform journalist in the features department. You might have seen her blog posts on Book Buzz, Twenty & Change or Smart.

Name: Sarah Chain
Lives in: York City
Hometown: Ridgefield, Conn.
Position at the YDR: Books editor, multiplatform journalist in features
Years with the YDR: One and a half
Graduated from: James Madison University
With a degree in: Media arts and design, minor in creative writing
Twitter: @sarahEchain, @ydrbooks
Email: schain@ydr.com
Whatever you’d like to tell us about yourself: I love food, especially farmers markets and local foods and meeting the people I buy food from. I get all girly and giddy about it like I used to about NSYNC. I also can’t stop buying books.

1. What made you want to become a journalist? I really wanted to add a second major in graphic design while in college, but I didn’t feel like my art skills were good enough. Read: I can draw a stick figure. So when my adviser tried to push me toward a minor in international studies so I could apply for a job reporting overseas (which, if you know how awkward I am, is laughable), I instead suggested a minor in creative writing. And she suggested a position as a copy editor on the yearbook. And now I can’t stop seeing AP style mistakes everywhere. Everywhere!

2. How do you see journalism changing? I think we’re becoming more immediate and more interactive. Last fall when the Penn State sex abuse scandal broke, Graham Spanier canceled a PSU football presser. Our sports editor, Chris Otto, found the news via Twitter first, and managing editor Randy Parker shouted across the newsroom, “Did you retweet that, Chris? When we know it, they know it.” He was referencing our informal motto — when we know the news, you know the news. With the Internet and mobile apps and email blasts, there’s no waiting for tomorrow’s paper or the evening news to know what’s going on.

3. What do you like most about your job? The least? I like being able to try new things — a blog initiative, designing a FlipSide Weekend centerpiece, writing a story about National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, recording video at a Central Market event. The title “multiplatform journalist” is no joke — I feel like I have a hand in plenty of other things. On the other hand, it can get overwhelming. I’ve become much better at time management.

4. It’s 9:30 a.m. on a day off. What are you doing? Drinking a cup of coffee on the couch. Most workdays I wake up at 7, hit the gym and use their showers and then head straight to work. So I sincerely appreciate sleeping in till 8 or 9 and being able to enjoy a few leisurely cups of coffee in my own apartment.

5. What’s been your favorite project or story recently? Why? I really enjoyed writing my latest Smart column on my adventures in dog-sitting. It’s fun to hear feedback from people who enjoyed it or could relate.

6. The drink that’s on your desk right now is: My empty coffee mug and a half-empty mug of tea. I tend to forget about it and it gets cold.

7. Your favorite journalism-related blog you read or Twitter feed you follow: Fell in love with Charles Apple since I started working here, although I also enjoy Overheard in the Newsroom on Twitter.

8. What’s the last movie you saw in theaters? The last book you read? Movie was probably “Magic Mike” … no shame. Book was “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling, which I was entirely disappointed by.

9. What’s your favorite place in York County? Central Market. Or Holy Hound.

10. What’s one piece of newsroom jargon that had to be explained to you? A refer. It sounds self-explanatory — and it is when you read it. Oh, a referral to a story / slideshow / video / photo that is elsewhere in the paper or online. But everyone in the news world pronounces it “reefer,” and it took me a while to understand they were the same thing.

Last week, we ran a Q&A with multiplatform sports journalist Matt Goul. To read all of the staff Q&A interviews we’ve done so far, click on the “Staff Q&As” under “About us” at the top of the homepage.