Meet Your IPC


Tara Roberts, student media adviser and general manager for University of Idaho Student Media, is among the latest additions to the Idaho Press Club board. Tara, born in Laclede, Idaho, outside Sandpoint, started as a student journalist at The Argonaut as a freshman.  She worked at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News and did a stint as a science writer for the University before taking her current position.

We asked Press Club board member Joan Cartan-Hansen to interview Roberts for a get-to-know-you Q&A.

What do you do at the University of Idaho?

I advise students on their work at The Argonaut newspaper, Blot magazine, KUOI FM and our advertising group, the University Avenue Agency, as well as handle business aspects of our program. 

The “manager” side of my job mostly means paperwork — billing, FCC filing, coordinating with tech support, keeping things organized. Advising students is 90% of my job. I joke with the students that they do all the work, and I talk to them about it — which is actually true! My students are independent journalists, so I’m not their editor or boss. I coach, support and encourage them, and help them prepare for and navigate challenges (I’ve heard another adviser call it “keeping them from falling in open manholes”). I question them on their decisions and help them find resources for doing their jobs and serving their community well.

Share a story about an assignment early in your career that made an impact on you.

When I was a freshman in college, I was assigned to cover a crash involving a man who ran his car into a building. At the time I thought I hated news reporting, especially crime and accidents, because it felt intrusive. But when rumors started swirling about what caused the crash, my story clarified what really happened — the man had a medical emergency. It was such a small thing, but it turned the lights on for me about journalism as community service. Facts matter, and good journalists are dedicated to helping those facts reach the people who need them.

You have a reputation for being an ice cream enthusiast.  Why?

I loved ice cream as a kid, and when I started traveling more as an adult, I made a point of finding interesting ice cream shops wherever I went. I love that ice cream is comforting and familiar, but creative ice cream makers are still making it surprising. There’s a craft ice cream movement happening right now, like the craft beer movement! But ice cream made its way to my Twitter bio when I spent a year with one of my friends making a podcast where we interviewed ice cream makers all over the Northwest. It was mostly an excuse to eat more ice cream, but it was a great experience as an interviewer, too. 

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Junior Mint. An ice cream shop I loved as a kid made it, but I’ve never found it anywhere else. I make it myself now. 

In addition to your work at the U of I, you are also writing a novel.  Tell us about it?

I’ve always done creative work in parallel to my day jobs — nights and weekends slooowly writing short stories and essays. I spent the last three years writing a historical novel that follows five generations of women all over the world, wrestling with a family secret while trying to establish their own identities. Plus, it has magic and whales. I’m in the exhausting stage of attempting to navigate the publishing world right now, and I’m lucky to have a wonderful literary agent helping me through it. 

What do you do for fun?

Writing! But also reading, walking my dog, watching silly sci-fi TV with my family and going camping. In normal times, I love to travel. In pandemic times, I’ve been learning to play the piano.

Why did you join the Idaho Press Club?

I’ve been a Press Club member off and on since I was a student, and I’ve always appreciated the support they give their members. Journalists can be competitive, but there are so many ways we can help each other, too.

What do you hope to accomplish on the Idaho Press Club board?

I’m excited to be a North Idaho voice on the board, and a voice for student journalists all over the state. I’m excited to learn from my colleagues and see what we can accomplish together. Idaho needs great journalists so badly right now, and I want to be part of that, whatever it looks like.