An emotional writer, Mary Divine understands the importance of spending time with the people she interviews. She acknowledges that it takes time for people to open up to a reporter during times when family is their top priority. When I interviewed Mary we discussed her front-page story in the Sunday's Pioneer Press issue that covered the final months of a senior at Stillwater cancer and his battle with a rare form of bone cancer. "I pour my heart into emotional pieces about unfortunate people", said Mary. I wept when I wrote my recent article (on the Stillwater senior)." While she actively tweets in order to connect with her readers outside of the daily paper, Mary acknowledges that there is no substitute for feature length articles in hard copy. "I still write for hard paper. I'm willing to tweet after something happens, but at the end of the day long stories mean the most to me, and that's what people remember."
While now content working for the Pioneer Press newspaper, Mary wrote for a magazine in a short stint after college. However, this job didn't last because the month-long deadlines didn't suit Mary's disposition as a writer. By having pieces due each week at the Pioneer Press, Mary is able to stay focused on her work. In addition, she is able to choose her own stories for each addition of the Sunday paper. She follows the same simple routine of researching a story of her choice, writing a preliminary draft that she shows her editor, and then running with the idea over the course of the week. This routine and her weekly agenda write up have kept Mary busy at the Pioneer Press for over 14 years.
An attachment with her readers and residents of the St. Croix River Valley area are what continue to inspire Mary on a daily basis. The same people who read Mary's articles are the ones she writes about and approaches for interviews. She prides herself in being able to convey their opinions on controversial issues, while withholding her own. This standard of journalism is something that she brought with her from the St. Joseph News Press in Missouri and that continues to help her construct unbiased stories. Mary has been covering different elements of the Stillwater bridge collapse since she began working at the Pioneer Press. After 14 years of extensive reporting she is proud that her readers are still unsure of where she stands on the issue. Her ability to maintain this high level of journalistic integrity has made her a successful journalist, and a trusted member of the community that she writes about.