As the arts and culture editor for the Eugene Weekly since September 2012, Alex Notman has truly immersed herself in a beat that she’s passionate about.
Her most fascinating interviews include the creative director from The Black Panther Party, the lead singer from Beach House (which didn’t exactly go well) and Ryan Lewis from Macklemore. “Nothing can replace good preparation for an interview,” Notman says. “Research, research, research.”
While she earned her undergraduate degree in French and International Studies from University of Minnesota Duluth, her goal was always to move to the Pacific Northwest. Notman doubled as a waitress and as a copywriter in Minnesota for a travel agency before relocating.
“I really loved the writing and research aspect of my job,” Notman says. “But I was turned off by having to fluff things up for the corporate travel agency.”
Notman came to Eugene to pursue her professional master’s degree in journalism at the UO in 2009. When she received an extravagant invitation to a “steam punk” party on a farm with a strict costume code, however, she began to fall in love with her new home. Her story about the experience was later converted and published as a cover for Eugene Weekly, where she consistently submitted freelance work for nearly two years.
Eugene Weekly also published her final project for graduate school, which explored human rights conditions for female veterans. She later worked as the project manager at EMU Marketing, co-produced the documentary Meet Me At The SU (2013) and completed internships at West Lane News and Seattle Metropolitan Magazine. At the UO, she was a designer for Flux Stories and the creative director for Ethos Magazine.
“I learned how to motivate a group of people and how to marry images with words,” she says. “It gave me insight to all parts of the paper, not just the text.”
Notman says that she has been an artist for as long as she can remember and was exposed to art from her father and grandmother. In fact, she nearly applied to graduate school for curatorial studies for museums. Notman believes that Eugene would benefit from having a more polished and competitive art scene. In the next few years, her goal is to be an artist as well as a journalist in town.
“It is a really difficult industry,” Notman says. “You have to be better than everyone else that’s around you.”