KNOXVILLE – Hi, my name is Ethan Goetz and I am the latest addition to the Journal Express.
My journalism journey started at the Ottumwa Courier. I didn't know what to expect. I found out quickly what I knew and what I didn't know.
My time with the Courier was quite the experience. I was put on the agricultural and rural education beat.
After a day of orientation, I was on assignment to find a story. My list of contacts for farmers was minimal, to say the least. I did what felt would be the most logical thing to do; find a gas station somewhere near a bunch of row crop and wait for farmers to trickle in. It worked.
How I got into journalism is a long story, so I'll keep it short, maybe.
My family members all live in Iowa. I have four sisters and a older brother. My father is a retired chiropractor and my mom takes care of her mother, who will be 100 years old next September.
I graduated from Ottumwa High School in 1990, then moved out of state for nearly a decade. I spent some time in Alexandria, Va., where I worked in restaurants, then jumped on a train and spent close to five years in Portland, Oregon.
My time living abroad was met with a lot of work. I had bills and rent to pay, so I didn't get to Iowa often.
A couple of my siblings came out to visit while I was residing in Portland. Upon seeing family, I realized how much I missed living closer to them, so I packed up my belongings, jumped on a train and moved back to Iowa.
Adjusting back into small-town living took time. I spent a little time in Clear Lake and Coralville before moving back to my hometown of Ottumwa.
I was offered a full-time position working at Menards when the store first opened and quickly moved into management. This is where I worked for the next six years.
The hours were long and most of it was spent pounding concrete floors. Sitting wasn't an option. I knew I didn't want to put this kind of stress on my feet and knees for too much longer. It was time for a change.
I put in my notice at Menards and worked in a little restaurant in Fremont, Iowa while contemplating my next move. It hit me in the spring of 2012; go back to school. I enrolled into Indian Hills Community College.
Going back to school as a non-traditional student was nerve racking to say the least. I was excited and terrified.
I wanted to take challenging classes, so I picked up acting and poetry, two subjects I knew very little about. These subjects made me get out of my comfort zone and really challenge my cerebral matter. In the spring of 2014, I graduated with an Associate of Arts degree.
I was going to stop there, but decided to go another two years.
Since I live in Oskaloosa, I looked into William Penn University. I wasn't really impressed with the layout of the campus and had my doubts.
For the convenience of not having to drive an hour to school, I enrolled at Penn and chose Digital Communications as my major. More terror. When it came to technology, I was a a little behind with the latest.
I worked hard, showed up for class every day and somehow passed with honors.
Finding a job in a rural community can be difficult. After applying to several places, including the Ottumwa Courier, it dawned on me that I may have to start looking in Des Moines.
Around the middle of August, I told my wife I would be looking in Des Moines full-time to look for a job. That's when I got the call from the Ottumwa Courier, and accepted a position as a reporter.
Pella was looking for a writer. I was asked if I would like to write for the Chronicle by Wanda Moeller, who is Ottumwa Courier's chief editor. I gladly accepted the challenge.
Upon starting at the Chronicle, I found they also needed a part-time writer for the Journal Express, so I will be splitting my time between the two publications.
When I am not reporting, I enjoy being outdoors working in the yard and tending to the fruit trees and garden. I also have three black labs who like the outdoors, with one who enjoys digging holes in the yard for me to stumble into.
When I am not dodging craters in the yard, I enjoy spending time with my wife. We are both have busy schedules, so we enjoy and relaxing and chatting. We also enjoy walking the dogs.
I am looking forward to meeting people in the community and building relationships.
See you around.