Monday, June 13, 2016
Former Somerville News reporter talks about the trajectory of her career
with Doug Holder
Former Somerville News reporter Ashley Troutman and I hit it off well when we met at my usual haunt at the Bloc 11 Cafe in the Union Square section of the city. She told me she was a big fan of mine, mentioned a “classic” poem I wrote “ Mashed Potatoes,” etc... Hey, I am as prone to flattery as the next guy. Troutman is an upbeat presence and back in 2006 she worked at the Somerville News ( now the Times), and commuted from New Hampshire where she was going to college. She told me, “I worked with editor Bobie Toner , and this formed a foundation for my future journalism experiences. I loved covering The Somerville News Writers Festival (2003 to 2010), and I interviewed Mayor Joe Curatone—I never interviewed a politician before this. What I liked about the Festival was the variety of writers it showcased. I remembering thinking that writer Steve Almond was so hilarious, that he missed his calling as a stand up comedian.
Troutman told me that she recently moved to Somerville—just outside Davis Square. Originally from Malden, Mass., she is a big fan of Somerville. She reflected, “ The people are friendly and there always seems to be something going on.”
Since leaving The Somerville News, Troutman has had a wide variety of experiences with journalism and related endeavors. She has worked at FOX 25 in Boston, as a digital content editor. During her time there she wrote stories, engaged social media, worked on the website, etc... I asked Troutman why she left such a plum of a gig. She told me, “ I was working on the Tsarnaev Trial ( Boston Marathon Bombings) story—I covered the trial in-house and reviewed all these very graphic documents, videos etc... I also covered a lot of mass shootings and such. I just needed a break from it all. It was hard for me to distance myself from it.” Troutman has also worked for the Patch online newspapers. She loves the idea of community journalism. She was based in North Reading, Mass., and her makeshift office was located at the local Starbucks. She said she got to know a lot of the folks in the town and felt very much a part of the community life.
Troutman told me that years back she got her MFA in Non-Fiction from Southern New Hampshire University. She studied with such writers as Kim Ponders, Rick Carey, Diane Les Becquets, and others. She said the experience was essential to her growth as a writer.
Currently Troutman is working for the “ Solutions Review.” The company posts videos (that Troutman often hosts) that explore things like the different facets of ORACLE and other such computer-related programs, etc... that are Greek to this writer. Troutman also told me that Solutions provides breaking high tech news, as well as other services.
For years Troutman has been working on a memoir about her and her brother's troubled youth. During her formative years she witnessed the ravages of addiction and abuse. She is still in the process of revising the memoir and is hopeful that she can find a publisher.
Troutman seems to be in love with writing and her work. She shows a genuine interest in people-- a necessity if you want to get them to trust you and tell their stories. Hopefully this former Somerville News reporter will continue her upward trajectory of her career—that started—here--in the Paris of New England.