Washington Post journalist returns to Marshall, Independent

Photo by Jody Isaackson Curt Anderson came back to Marshall to celebrate his mother’s 100th birthday and stopped in at the Marshall Independent to reminisce about getting his start in journalism here.

MARSHALL — Marshall native Curt Anderson is now working on “the biggest stage in the world,” but he hasn’t forgotten his roots.

“I’ve been with the Washington Post for six years,” Anderson said. “I love it because it’s so challenging. It’s the biggest stage in the world. We’re on the cutting edge of the political front, the hub of press. We’re expected to respond immediately and with no margin for error. Every day is quite different.”

Anderson, however grew up in Marshall and started his journalism career at the Marshall Independent. He was in Marshall last week to visit family and the Marshall Independent where he got his start in journalism.

Anderson said that his mother, Clara’s birthday was last week. She turned 100 years old, and a party was planned in her honor in Marshall. Anderson was also spending time with his daughter, Clara, 13, who lives in Colorado. 

Anderson recalls working with many successful journalists who also got their start at the Independent.

“I was hired by Bob Seavey to cover city, county and political beats as well as courts,” Anderson said. “It was a great experience covering all those areas.”

Anderson said that was back in the days when the composition department had to cut and paste their stories to storyboards and run them through the printing presses. Now the ads and stories are composed on computers. 

“I still remember the first story I wrote for the Independent,” Anderson said. “It was about the Pope’s visit to Iowa. A group of people from Southwest State’s theater department made 1,000 submarine sandwiches to sell at the Iowa event. They came back with 980 sandwiches. It made a funny front page story with a picture of Kristen Blake surrounded by the sub sandwiches.”

While Anderson was happily challenged working at the Marshall Independent, he does not regret his move to bigger and more prominent locations. Anderson is now in charge of the Washington Post’s webpage which reports news as it happens. 

An example of this is the day President Donald Trump was in Asia at 3 a.m. U.S. time and newspapers would have reported in the next day’s edition. The Post, however, reported it as it happened.  

“We staff our news desks 24/7,” he said. “If there’s a tweet at 10 p.m. Friday night, it’s caught and reported by 3 a.m. Saturday.”

In journalism, Anderson said, coming up with the “Good Idea” is half the battle. 

From the Marshall Independent, Anderson moved to the Rocky Mountain News where he worked until 2009 when that paper closed its doors. Anderson spent 10 years at the Longmont Times-Call.

“We won the National Newspaper Association’s Best Daily Newspaper for circulation under 25,000 in 2002,” he said.

From there he went to Washington D.C. and the Post.

Anderson tries to keep tabs on his former Independent colleagues.

“Bob (Seavey) went to The Associated Press (AP) and worked as the AP Bureau Chief in Peru,” Anderson said. Kathy Kennedy went on to become a high level executive with the Gannett Company based in Washington D.C. Photographer Brad Justad went to New Orleans. 

“I think he (Justad) covered Hurricane Katrina on a crew in Houston,” Anderson said. “Dennis Lien went to the Pioneer Press. I think he’s retired now.”

Anderson remembers some of the exciting stories that the Independent covered during his tenure. 

“One of the major stories was the elevator explosion in Hendricks where several people were killed,” he said. “It was a grain dust explosion with a fire so big the response went on for a couple of days.”

“I would like to get back to Colorado someday,” he said. “That’s where my heart is, where my family lives. I wouldn’t mind running a paper the size of the Independent again.”