J-School Alum Covers Global Fisheries from Alaska

When Margie Bauman placed an ad in Editor and Publisher that read “J-grad, female, will go anywhere,” her degree in Journalism from Michigan State University landed her 15 job offers.

That was in 1964, when she decided the best of those offers was to become the society, entertainment and religion editor at The Anchorage Times in Alaska.

She spent a year at The Anchorage Times before realizing she needed more experience working with seasoned journalists from broader backgrounds. She returned to her home state of New Jersey, landing jobs with organizations like The Associated Press and CBS News. But Bauman missed Alaska and returned in 1971. She worked for the Anchorage Daily News (now Alaska Dispatch News), the Alaska Native Press (The Tundra Times), various weeklies and also produced freelance work.

Now, Bauman is the Alaska bureau chief for Fisherman’s News in Seattle and the fisheries reporter for The Cordova Times in Cordova, Alaska, on Prince William Sound.

She works from her home office, covering most stories by phone and hundreds of miles from the publications for which she works. She has never actually been to Cordova. On occasion, she will fly out to report on really interesting stories, like the annual fisheries conference at Kodiak Island, but she mostly works in south-central Alaska.

Speaking to MSU J-School Students

Bauman recently returned to MSU during homecoming week to meet with Knight Center for Environmental Journalism students interested in journalism careers similar to her own.

She advised students to figure out how best to sell themselves and to do anything they can to start getting published.

“Look around at what you’re really interested in writing,” she said.

Cultivating a lot of sources also is important.

“People think I know a lot about fisheries. No — I just know the people who do,” said Bauman, adding that she has 60 pages of contacts she can refer to on her computer.

When asked if she fishes often, her response was immediate: “No — I eat fish.”

Bauman said her favorite part of her job is having the authority to speak with a variety of people about all kinds of scientific discoveries and disasters and then informing others what they should know about them.

It’s a role for which she was well-prepared.

“I thought the J-School was terrific when I was a student there,” Bauman said. “But now it is light years ahead of what it was then.”