Meet your IPC: Melissa Davlin

melissaName: Melissa Davlin

Job (past and present): Former reporter at the Times-News in Twin Falls; currently freelancing and writing about Idaho politics at

Press Club position: Print representative, Idaho Press Club state board; just started this spring

Education: BA, General Studies, University of Idaho

Tell us about your family: My mom and dad live in Meridian, and I have two younger brothers who live in Nampa. My husband, Nate Poppino, and I just moved to Boise after he accepted a job as the online and breaking news editor at the Idaho Statesman. We’re expecting our first baby in mid-July.

What’s it like reporting in your home state? Initially, I didn’t want to stay here after college, but I’m glad we did. Reporting on politics has given me a new look at Idaho. It’s interesting to see how different attitudes form in various parts of the state. There’s no typical Idahoan way of looking at issues. Last year, my husband and I drove through most of the state, and that stayed in the back of my mind as we went from region to region. Before doing politics, I spent four years as a features reporter, and that was a blast. Doing outdoor, entertainment and food stories also gave me that new insight on the area where I’d grown up.

What draws you most to print journalism? I love long-form narratives and drawing the link between current events and how they affect real people.

I know you’ve been working on a book for a long time. What’s it about and when can we read it? Oh boy, I knew you’d ask me about that. My book is on Bhutanese refugees in Idaho. I followed three families over several months, starting in refugee camps in Nepal as they were preparing to resettle in the United States and ending after they’d lived in Twin Falls for a year. I began the project a little over two years ago. (Writing a book takes longer than I’d thought.) Right now, it’s in the editing stage. I’m hoping to have it out and in readers’ hands by the end of the year. Cross your fingers.

What is the most memorable story you have covered? By far, visiting refugee camps in Nepal to meet Bhutanese refugees who would soon move to Idaho. I saw things that infuriated me and broke my heart, but I also met dozens of people who were genuinely happy with their lives and eager to share their stories. Seeing the desperate conditions in which they lived, and the joy and hope onto which they still held, is something I’ll remember forever.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve interviewed?  I met a man in Nepal who was once the physician for the Bhutanese royal family. Our meeting was an accident — I got desperately sick while I was there and had to see a doctor. My interpreter told me the doctor’s history and of his association with radical Bhutanese nationalists. These nationalists opposed any refugee resettlement in the United States and used terrorism tactics to intimidate those who supported it — IEDs, beating and killing people who wanted to resettle, that sort of thing. After the doctor checked me out and prescribed some horrid medicine, I asked if I could interview him, and he agreed. He never confirmed his association with the terrorists, but he explained why, exactly, he disagreed that refugees were better off in America. It was fascinating, and a valuable part of the narrative.

You’re new to the IPC Board – what do you most hope to accomplish in representing other journalists? Even though I now live in Boise, I want to remember journalists outside of Ada County and make sure they’re represented in the Idaho Press Club.

Interviewed by Jamie Grey