Meet Your IPC: Lisa Chavez

Lisa Chavez is one of the newest members of the Idaho Press Club board.  She is the Director of Content at KTVB.  She oversees the news department and all news platforms.

Interviewed by Joan Cartan-Hansen

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Powell, Wyoming.

Why did you go to Boise State University?

I initially wanted to focus on documentary shooting and producing. Boise is so beautiful and a professor, Dr. Lutze, took so much care in showing me around and introducing me to other professors and students. It was a no-brainer after the visit. I’d say it was the right choice, I got my foot in the door at KTVB after Paul Boehlke called my advisor looking for a recent grad who would be good for their morning news editor opening. I met my husband in a video production class as well.

Why did you want to go into journalism?

After starting at KTVB, the news bug bit. I knew immediately it was exactly where I wanted to be. How can you not love a job where you learn something new every day and get to share it with others?

What was your first job in journalism? Why there and how did it go?

I started as the newscast editor for Idaho at Sunrise working the overnight shift. I wanted to shoot and edit stories. After about 9 months, I got the opportunity and was promoted to photojournalist.

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

Goodness, that’s a hard one. I got to do fun features, serve as local pool camera for a presidential visit, fly with Steve Appleton (literally, he taught me to do a barrel roll), and travel for Boise State coverage. The Olympic Torch came through Boise as part of the Special Olympics. It was huge live coverage across the Treasure Valley.

You’ve worked lots of different jobs at KTVB.  What was that like?

I have! Newscast editor, photojournalist, assignment editor, managing editor, digital content manager, and director of content. Always growing, learning, coaching, empowering, and informing has kept each of my 21 years at KTVB a new challenge.

What was it like meeting Brian Williams at the National Murrow Awards?

Brief! I was humbled and honored to be in New York representing the work of our team and only had a photo taken with him. Visiting NBC and meeting some of the team was a treat for sure.

Who is your journalistic hero?

I’ve always deeply admired Dee Sarton for her for intelligence, huge heart, and way of asking tough questions in her kind but firm way. I learned quite a bit from working with her over the years. She’s a true gem personally and professionally!

Of what professional accomplishment are you most proud?

News is stressful with constant deadlines and pressure to always get it right. Producing six hours of news takes hundreds of working pieces, as well as teamwork, communication, and collaboration. One thing going awry can quickly spiral a live broadcast so we have each other’s backs to pull it off for each show. I’m proud of the incredible way we all come together, especially when covering big, breaking news events together. I’m proud of the work culture we’ve built. I love my job and the people I’ve been blessed to work with now and over the years.

What do you do for fun?

We enjoy traveling, particularly road trips through Yellowstone to our family cabin in the Beartooth Mountains (where there is NO cell service) and finding new experiences for our boys, whether it be a new cuisine or city to explore. 

How do you balance family life and work?

It can be really rough, particularly when the boys were little. Fortunately, multitasking has always been a strong quality of mine. You have to have focused time for each. We have guaranteed family time by having dinner together every night. My husband is an excellent cook and, fortunately for me, loves to do it! Oh, and yoga. That’s gotten me through some really stressful periods.

Your husband is a brewer.  Do you like beer?  What kinds?

He is, and he’s SO talented! I’m very proud of all his accomplishments at Sockeye and then starting Boise Brewing. I enjoy a tasty, cold one occasionally. There are so many good ones for all kinds of moods, and he always has a new recipe to check out. His chocolate stout or Snowboarder Porter are delightful during the winter. Admittedly, I’m more of a wine gal than beer drinker.

Why did you join the Idaho Press Club?

What we do as journalists is critically important.  It must be protected and celebrated. Supporting local news by serving on the board representing Idaho’s largest media organization has long been a goal of mine. 

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

Well, I’m just getting started so initially learning the challenges we face collectively, how we can support local journalists and better serve the under-served communities in Idaho.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?

My very first job after graduating from Boise State was in master control at Idaho Public Television. I only lasted a few months. Not surprising? Another fact, I’m distantly related to Buffalo Bill Cody.

Joan Cartan-Hansen is a producer/reporter/writer/host with Idaho Public Television and the treasurer of the Idaho Press Club.