Evan Bell ’07 worked his way into a great job and cites his degree in history from SOU for launching his career. While growing up in the small I-5 town of Wolf Creek, just north of Grants Pass, Evan was a self-proclaimed history junkie and often had to get pried away from the History Channel to do chores.
After graduating from North Valley High School, Evan pondered U.S. Air Force service but had to bow out for medical reasons. So, he jumped into school at Rogue Community College, hoping to parlay an associate’s degree into a bachelor’s degree at SOU, then a career in teaching. But it was while he was a student at SOU that he found that he had a passion for photography, taking pictures for friends in a variety of social settings. “Wherever I went at SOU, I had a camera with me. My friends came to expect good quality pictures from me,” he said.
In 2005-06, Evan got talked into being the Director of Governmental Affairs for the incoming ASSOU President. His passion for photography grew as he helped document student issues and did a short but fun documentary for his friends during their time on campus. He was also able to produce and edit a short film on local mountain biking, which opened his future career path while he studied history. “Even though my interest in being a history teacher had waned towards the end of my time at SOU, I loved my courses in history. Dr. Jay Mullen was a standout teacher and had amazing world experiences and stories, which we all couldn’t get enough of,” he said.
After graduation, Evan was able to secure a part time position at local television station KDRV Newswatch 12 in Medford as a production assistant. But gradually, his passion for the job and his editing and photography prowess, led him to being invited into a variety of work experiences there, which led to a full-time position, which he stuck with through 2012. “We came up with something new and fun my last year at KDRV which not too many stations were doing at the time: we did live local high school sports,” he said.
In 2012, KATU television in Portland had a part time opening for an entry-level engineer position. Evan secured the position but his hard work and passion once again led him to a promotion and by the time 2013 rolled around, he was their full-time photographer for the morning show and he became an Emmy Award winner this year as part of the morning team for coverage of a major snowstorm in 2019. Recently, he was also able to film a story about fellow Raider Col. Todd Hofford ’96 & ’97, who became the first fighter pilot in the world to get back into the cockpit after prosthetic disc replacement surgery. “Todd was great to work with and I’m hoping someday, my relationship with the 142nd Wing in Portland, will lead to a filmed opportunity from the back seat of their two-seat F-15,” he said.
Evan notes how his liberal arts education paid off for him. “People might say that I’m not using my history degree working for a metropolitan news station but I couldn’t disagree more. Studying history is all about verifying facts, primary sources and events and I do that every day. I verify the validity of stories and I vet sources. I like to say that I’m in history as it happens!”
Learn more: KATU News