Profile of Catherine W. Idzerda
Address: Fulton Township
First job: Long John Silver’s
First journalism job: Portage Daily Register
Title at the Gazette: General assignment reporter specializing in entertainment and faith. Probably best known for her “Asked and Answered” column. Cathy has worked at the Gazette since 1999.
What do you like about your job? “I like the variety of my work a lot. I love covering the arts.”
She really likes the “Asked and Answered” column because she can converse with residents on many issues. “I’m just really interested in people stories—all kinds of people stories.”
What is one of the more memorable “Asked and Answered?” “I think the one where the guy was angry because the Catholics were burning palms outside. This person thought it was a violation of the city’s leaf-burning ordinance. Sometimes, it surprises me what people are angry about.”
What are you angry about? “Whiners.”
Why do you write? “I have to write. I don’t mean to sound corny. I don’t know of any other job I could do. It’s the most interesting thing I think you can do. There are so many real stories to tell—not fictional stories but real stories to tell about ordinary people. Just regular old people who have done extraordinary things.”
What do you like about the Gazette? “Not to suck up or anything, but I like that it’s family-owned. The guy who runs the company works downstairs, and I can go down there and talk about duck hunting, or whatever. It’s not some corporation based in Chicago or New York. I think it really makes a difference in the atmosphere here.”
What would you hope people realize about the Gazette? “That we’re trying to make the paper as much about their lives and the community as possible. I really like it when people have some ownership of the paper, when they care about what’s in there.
“I would hope that they would respect the work we do. Sometimes, I’d like to meet some of these people and show them I’m a normal person, and I don’t have a bias this way or that—that I’m not pro-Craig or pro-Parker, and the newspaper isn’t, either.”
Sometimes, you talk about your ‘Pumpkin.’ “That would be Randy Thompson, my husband. He’s the (Rock County) dairy and livestock agent. He says that I have enough excess conditioning so I’ll over winter well—which is what you say about a cow.”
Where did you meet? “I actually met him doing a story. I remember because he had pink eye and looked really creepy.”
Isn’t that a conflict of interest—dating your source? “I did not begin to date my source until long after the story was done. OK, at least several months after the story was done.”