After 15 years of reporting in Waldo County, Tanya Mitchell has the experience and know-how to get the stories.

Mitchell started writing for The Republican Journal in the summer of 1997, after she brought her resume into then-editor Tom Groening. Groening assigned Mitchell to cover the Searsport selectmen meetings before eventually earning a part-time and then full-time position on the staff.

“I really wanted to write for a local newspaper, so I decided to give it a shot after I graduated from Belfast High School,” she said. “It was sort of a patchwork of jobs at first because I worked at what used to be Harborside Graphics during the day, and then I would stay up all night writing my story from the selectmen’s meeting.”

Mitchell continued writing for the Journal until 2005 when her son was born and she decided to take a year off. During that time, a number of her former co-workers left the Journal and started the Waldo County Citizen.

“After I came back I managed to land a full-time position at the Citizen and I was there until the summer of 2008. Villagesoup bought the Journal and the Waldo Independent and the Citizen closed, so I went back to the Journal,” Mitchell said.

Since her first debut in the newspaper industry, Mitchell has seen the business change dramatically from what it used to be. The two most significant changes for her was switching from film cameras to digital cameras, and also seeing color photos printed on the front page of the newspaper.

“Seeing the switch from film to digital and the disappearance of dark rooms was really cool. It was also really interesting seeing color photos printed on the front page of the Journal,” she said.

It may seem like after 15 years of covering the same area the stories would start to run dry, but Mitchell said it’s a combination of the people and variety of events that she covers that keeps her in the area.

“The people are just awesome and you never know what to expect,” she said. “I like getting out into the community and hearing the stories people tell.”

When she isn’t pounding the pavement in search of the next big story, Mitchell enjoys spending time with her son and going camping and fishing, as well as reading.

“I love to read, but that only happens when I can find five minutes to do it.”

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at