1. Henry Houston Eugene Weekly, EugeneWeekly.com
2. Will Kennedy Eugene Weekly
3. Camilla Mortensen Eugene Weekly
Henry Houston says this past year has “felt like drinking out of a fire hose.” In other words, 2021 has felt like an extra kick of chaos amid the already nonstop whirlwind that is journalism.
If Houston’s experience having a tear gas canister thrown at him by police during the protests following the police murder of George Floyd is a testament to anything, it is that chaos typically comes as an unspoken clause in a journalist’s job description. Despite the chaos, Houston still says he enjoys the work he does.
“It’s never a dull day in journalism,” Houston says. “It feels nice that it’s still something I’m able to do every day.”
For Houston, some of the most impactful stories he’s worked on have been a few of the obituaries for those who died in 2021 while unhoused. “It’s a great way to learn about people who we may seem to just pass by every day,” Houston says. Speaking with family members of the individuals helped him understand who these people are and how much of an impact their lives had on their loved ones. The obits are part of a series EW has undertaken to chronicle the deaths of those who die homeless in Lane County.
Though he started off his career more than 10 years ago at the Santa Maria Sun in California, Houston says he feels he is just as much of that young journalist just starting out now as he was back then.
If he could advise his former self now, he’d say, “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” — Sienna Riley