Staff Q&As: Meet features reporter Leigh Zaleski

Leigh ZaleskiTo help you get to know our newsroom staff a bit better, a series of question-and-answer posts with each journalist will run on Mondays. This morning, meet features reporter Leigh Zaleski. Aside from her stories in the daily paper, Smart magazine and the FlipSide tab, she’s also the voice behind @letseatpa and focuses on health for the Smart blog.

Name: Leigh Zaleski
Lives in: York
Hometown: Scranton
Position at the YDR: General assignment features reporter
Years with the YDR: 4, since June 2008
Graduated from: Temple University
With a degree in: Journalism
Twitter: @leighzaleski
Email: lzaleski@ydr.com
Whatever you’d like to tell us about yourself: I’m a healthy foodie, a word nerd and second oldest of six siblings who also are among my best friends.

1. What made you want to become a journalist? When I realized that journalism is a vehicle for voice.

2. How do you see journalism changing? I didn’t work in journalism at the time when print media dominated, so what I’ve seen so far is a fast-paced evolution. Reporters need to know how to write and edit, shoot and edit video, record and edit audio, blog and use social media to promote stories. Those tasks incorporate so many  elements, such as using Facebook and Twitter to find sources or shooting video at a scene with a Flip Cam. I’ve always believed that most change is good. As journalists, we need to continuously redefine ourselves and evolve to tell the best stories for our readers.

3. What do you like most about your job? The least? I love getting to meet and learn about so many people. It feels good that part of my job is to listen to people about things that matter most to them. My least favorite: constant multitasking. Although it’s usually manageable, sometimes it’s hard to focus.

4. It’s 9:30 a.m. on a day off. What are you doing? Working out at the gym or running in York. Maybe drinking coffee and relaxing at home. Definitely out of bed.

5. What’s been your favorite project or story recently? Why? A story about a father fighting for his infant son’s life. The father was unemployed, without a home, and raising three young children, along with a critically ill infant. He and his family stayed in his mother’s small basement, as he attempted to get the best treatment he could for his baby, while being a good dad to his other kids. It was the most challenging story I’ve reported. It was emotionally difficult to constantly follow such a sad, stressful situation and to stay in touch with the father, who’s life was constantly influx. In the end, many people connected with his situation and offered support. Someone even loaned the family her vacant home near Hershey Medical Center, so the dad could get his infant to the hospital quickly if there were an emergency and hopefully find a job there.

6. The drink that’s on your desk right now is: Water with lemon

7. Your favorite journalism-related blog you read or Twitter feed you follow: @FakeAPStylebook

8. What’s the last movie you saw in theaters? The last book you read?

“Moonrise Kingdom” and “Full Dark No Stars” by Stephen King

9. What’s your favorite place in York County? Central Market, the Rail Trail or Brown’s Orchards

10. What’s one piece of newsroom jargon that had to be explained to you? At some point, all of it. Specifically, I learned a lot of new terminology when I was a copy editor and designer from 2008 to 2010.


Last week, we ran a Q&A with visual editor Eileen Joyce. To read all of the staff Q&A interviews we’ve done so far, click on the “Staff Q&As” under “About us” at the top of the homepage.

About Sarah Chain

I'm an avid reader and book lover living and working in downtown York. Follow me on Twitter at @sarahEchain.
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