Issue: 91 Page: 15
Employee Profile: Tyler Smith
by Natalie Brown
HerbalGram. 2011; American Botanical Council
When his mother signed him up for a youth journalism program at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, 10-year-old Tyler Smith was inspired to become a reporter. In 2000, at the age of 13, he was accepted to a journalism excursion to Hong Kong, where he interviewed children about the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China. Although he took a different path when he majored in neuroscience at Colorado College, he never completely left journalism behind. Tyler wrote and designed layouts for the school’s paper, The Catalyst, and was published in the alumni magazine.
After a stint at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, in the health and science reporting graduate program, Tyler moved to Austin to work for ABC as a writer and assistant editor. In this role, he is responsible for writing a number of articles for publication in both HerbalGram and HerbalEGram. He helps Managing Editor Ashley Lindstrom edit work submitted from outside ABC, and he manages the publication's book review section. This latter responsibility involves contacting publishers to request review copies of books, writing profiles, and requesting and editing reviews from qualified, professional reviewers.
His favorite part of the job, though, is researching and writing articles. “This is where I want to be,” he said. “Writing, reporting, and editing in a scientific field. It combines 2 of my passions—science and journalism. I’m really happy here.”
While he has little experience with botany or herbal medicine, other than a freshman biology class at Colorado College, he enjoys learning new things about the science behind herbs and natural medicine. “Here, you learn something new every time you write a story,” he said.
When he’s not at ABC, Tyler spends time with his cat, Maui, and explores Austin. When he moved away from the area after high school, he missed the food most of all. “Austin as a 20-something is completely different from Austin as a high schooler,” he said. Paco’s Tacos has become his favorite breakfast haunt, where he enjoys 2 tacos on a regular basis: potato, egg and cheese, and plain bean and cheese. On nights and weekends, he and his friends eat their way through the Austin food scene.
“All of us on the editorial team were extremely impressed with Tyler when he applied for the position here at ABC,” said ABC’s Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “Not only was he well qualified via his university training, but he also exhibited a keen interest in the numerous subject areas we cover here at ABC. In addition, of the various people we interviewed for the role of writer and assistant editor, Tyler was one of the few who wrote us a thank-you note, and his was the most well-written, and seemed the most genuine!”