J Bates is the News Director for Idaho News 6, covering the Treasure Valley on KIVI and the Magic Valley on KSAW.
What is your job? I feel like I have two jobs, at least at Idaho News 6. First and foremost is to use our station in the community interest and make Idaho an even better place than it is. That can mean delivering information that keeps you safe, holding officials accountable, or celebrating success. The entire newsroom believes in journalism as an opportunity to do good.
Second, we have a unique opportunity to lead a new generation of journalists. We take on a lot of young professionals and get the chance to start their careers on the right foot with a positive outlook on the profession as a whole.
With stations in the Treasure and Magic Valleys, we have a responsibility to an extensive area of Idaho.
When did you start working here? I began at KIVI in 2013 as the weekend anchor. After a move to Good Morning Idaho as anchor/reporter, I was hired to blaze a new trail as the station's first Digital Director. After two years there, I became News Director in 2018.
Where else have you worked? I have worked at every station in the Boise market, but also Pocatello, Salt Lake City, and I started in Cadillac, Michigan. My first jobs were in sports both on-air and off for television as well as two stints in sports radio. I switched to the news in 2010 because I enjoyed being able to tell stories and not just give highlights and stats.
Where did you go to college? I graduated from mighty Weber State in 1996 and received a Master's degree from Gonzaga in 2015.
Where did you grow up? From elementary through high school, my parents and I lived in Salt Lake City, but I probably spent half my life at some point on the road between Salt Lake and Boise. Glenns Ferry/Hammett will always be my hometown.
What are some of the biggest news stories you have covered or led coverage of? When it comes to sports, I've been to my fair share of big games and interviewed famous athletes. On the news side, my time on wildfires and early-morning breaking news stand out in my mind. But the trial of Joeseph Duncan haunts me still. The journalism taking place in the time of Covid-19 and social unrest around matters of race is unprecedented and deserves a category to themselves.
What is your philosophy on the news? I think the best Journalism lives by "Do Good." My staff hears that regularly from me, "what good does this story do for our community?" We shine lights in dark places. Sometimes we shine it in a direction to lead the discussion to a better outcome. I believe in being fair and telling stories with truth and empathy.
What do you love about living here? I love that I can travel 20 minutes from my home to downtown and have one of the best meals in the northwest in a clean and safe metropolitan area. Then I can go 20 minutes the other direction pull a backpack and fishing pole out of my trunk and be as disconnected from the world as nature will allow.
You can reach me via email at email@example.com or via phone at 208-381-6675