Lobdell on fast track to success in journalism
Paige Lobdell racked up quite a few assists in her senior season as the point guard of the Sterling Golden Warriors. Eighty-four, to be exact.
But she’s quick to credit others for helping her get on the fast track to success as a journalist.
Lobdell is the editor-in-chief of both the school newspaper, The Warriors Word, and the yearbook, The Warrior. So the first assist goes to English teacher and publications advisor Jennifer Drew.
“She kind of found out I had a knack for writing before I did,” Lobdell said. “So she was always encouraging me and poking it in my ear constantly – ‘Hey, you should be in publications.’ ”
“I’m always on the lookout and recruiting people to be in publications,” Drew said. “She’s a phenomenal writer. She really can put words and phrases together in a way that intrigues people and keeps them reading.”
Lobdell joined the publications team as a sophomore.
“In just a couple of days, I just kind of fell in love with it,” Lobdell said, “and it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
It’s her ability to make those around her better that impresses Drew most.
“She has a way of talking to students,” Drew said. “She’s telling them that things need to be changed, but they don’t take offense. When I leave for a day, I tell the sub, ‘This is what they’re working on, but Paige is in charge. If the kids have questions, just ask her.”
The second assist belongs to Jim Spencer, the executive director of the Sterling Schools Foundation. He gave her a segment on Golden Warriors Weekly, which she named “Prime Time with Paige.”
“I came up with the name, and I’m pretty proud of that,” Lobdell said, laughing. “I’m doing so many things already that will give me a leg up on college.”
Lobdell has her mind set on going pro as a journalist after graduating from Sterling in a few weeks and then getting a degree in communications and an English minor at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She currently ranks fourth in her class academically, and those marks, along with her leadership, helped her win one of four State Farm Holiday Classic scholarships worth $1,000.
Despite being a sports fanatic and a multi-sport standout for the Warriors, Lobdell is very open-minded about the topics she’d like to cover. She points to Katie Couric as her favorite journalist, and says she watched her every day on The Today Show, until Couric left the program in 2006.
“She would be one of my top idols,” Lobdell said.
Lobdell interviews people from all walks of life during her segment, most recently having sat down with all-state clarinet player Katelin Durham.
“I’ve learned a lot about stuff that goes on at Sterling High School that maybe I didn’t even know about,” Lobdell said. “I’ve never been in the drama or art field. I’ve been able to learn so much about that just by interviewing people.”
But, in order to keep the conversation organic, she wants her subjects to be as surprised as she is during their chat.
“Every week, my guests automatically ask me, ‘What are you going to ask me?’” Lobdell said. “My response is, ‘I don’t know. We’re just gonna see where this thing takes us.’ I might give them a couple points we’ll be sure to hit. But I like to just see what happens. Winging it is more fun.”
Tonight you can watch her preview the Northern Illinois Big 12 track and field meet with boys coach Tyler Gaumer and girls standout Sarah Wolber.
Lobdell’s already done more than 20 shows, and is coming down the homestretch with only a few remaining. She’d love to someday emulate Couric’s savvy, but also enjoys such vibrant sports personalities as Erin Andrews. Again, she has an open mind when it comes to her dream job, whether it be in front of a camera, or writing for a magazine.
“Those would be the big goals, but you’ve got to take the little steps to get there,” Lobdell said. “I love sports, but I’m just gonna kind of see where everything goes and take life as it comes at me.”
Lobdell will play softball at Luther and, when her team’s schedule brings her to Loras College in Dubuque, she’ll get to see the person who lit the pilot light that Lobdell has stoked into a full-blown flame.
“It’s not that far – I’ll have to plan a trip to Dubuque to watch her play,” Drew said.
Lobdell’s already promised Drew that she’ll buy her a “Luther College Mom” sweatshirt.
“I will absolutely wear it with pride,” Drew said. “She is on the fast track. I really do think of her as a daughter. We’re very, very close.”
Saying Lobdell’s act will be a tough one to follow would be an understatement. She pushed a high bar to unprecedented heights.
“I say every year when my editor leaves that I don’t know what I’ll do without them,” Drew said. “But Paige is the best editor I’ve ever had.”
Watch Paige on Golden Warriors Weekly
When: 7:30 Thursday nights
Where: Sterling local programming, Channel 11
Archived episodes: visit ihigh.com/goldenwarriors/index.html