I’m proud to announce that Vanessa Martínez is leaving us for the digital team at the LA Times. Joining us in mid-2016 as a producer, Vanessa started working as a developer with the Interactives Team this year and quickly became a valuable asset in our constant battle against deadlines. Among other things, she’s responsible for tracking Trump’s first 100 days, gave readers a 360 tour of the new Pike Place Market, and shouldered much of the load for the infamous Profanity Peak wolves.
She’ll probably be chagrined that I’m writing this, of course. Vanessa is one of those talented people who almost seem embarrassed by their own competence, and I know that she hoped (despite all indications to the contrary) to sneak out unnoticed. But she should have known that I couldn’t let her go back to her hometown without raising some kind of fuss.
As a producer, Vanessa quickly gained a rep for being capable and thoughtful, with great news judgement and technical dexterity. She’s also known for her sensitivity and watchfulness around delicate subjects, like our coverage of race and gender. She’s quiet, but there’s steel behind that friendly smile, and even in the rambunctious hub environment, people trust her.
A good web producer is a rare and wonderful thing. But about a year ago, Vanessa decided on her own to pick up more digital skills, by pitching and assembling projects with different teams in the newsroom. She started by providing data for interactive graphics, but quickly graduated to doing the development herself: a database of Seahawks injuries, the Trump tracker, and of course, our confidential news tips page. By April, she was sitting with us in the graphics department and teaming up to design big stories like the Mariners preview section and the Seattle mayor quiz. By July, we’d convinced her to eat lunch with us sometimes, and even to go home on time.
It’s always a bittersweet pleasure when someone like Vanessa leaves: we’re sorry to see her go, but happy we could play a part in her development (pardon the pun). She proved herself a valuable and beloved team member in the brief time she was here, taking on any and all challenges with a level head and nary a complaint. Congratulations and best of luck, Vanessa! We hope you’ll remember us fondly, probably while stuck in traffic, from LA.