Meet your IPC: J BATES

J Bates is one of the newest members of the Idaho Press Club board.  He is the News Director for Idaho News 6, covering the Treasure Valley on KIVI and the Magic Valley on KSAW.  Born in Rexburg, he has worked at every station in Boise, as well as at stations in Pocatello and Salt Lake City.  His first job was in Cadillac, Michigan.  He became Idaho News 6’s News Director in 2018.
Interviewed by Joan Cartan-Hansen
Where did you go to college?
Weber State University for undergrad; Gonzaga University for a Master’s
What made you decide to go into television journalism?
I was working in radio and television paid better. I loved sports, the camera kind of liked me and someone called in sick.  True story.
One of your jobs has been as a digital director.  What does a digital director do?
I oversaw the editorial process on our digital platforms including social, website, mobile apps and streaming.
What is the best part about being a news director?
When someone comes into my office and  says, “I have an idea.”
What is the hardest part about being a news director?
Remembering to eat lunch.  Kidding, kind of. It’s how quickly your schedule can fill up from what you want to do, with what you have to do when someone walks in and says, “I have an idea.”
Where do you think local news will be in 20 years?
I think it will be more firmly planted in the pillars of good journalism but on platforms that haven’t even been considered yet. Staffed by people who see it as a cause and not a career.
Why did you join the Idaho Press Club board?
I take pride in being a leader on where journalism could end up, so I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the state and not just my newsroom.  I am a professor trapped in a News Director’s body and see this as an opportunity to raise the level of journalism in the state.
And most importantly, does the “J” stand for something?
It’s actually just J.  It’s was my father’s middle name, his father’s first name and his father’s middle name.  The assumption is somewhere around 1890 someone in the line wasn’t able to write “John” which is also a common name in our family tree.
Is there anything else you’d like your fellow Press Club members to know?
My sense of humor can be VERY dry.
Joan Cartan-Hansen is a producer/reporter/writer/host with Idaho Public Television and the treasurer of the Idaho Press Club.