Eli Saslow, Driving Community Change through Writing
Hatch couldn’t be happier to welcome an accredited journalist from The Washington Post to our community. Having recently moved to Portland, Eli Saslow was seeking a co-working space to write and research in. After visiting Hatch and seeing the welcoming atmosphere and numerous amenities (the cellphone booths were especially appealing), he decided this was the place.
Eli’s focus has changed several times throughout his career: originally covering high school sports, he moved onto the presidential campaign, eventually featuring the Obamas’ transition into the White House. His current expertise, however, is narrative features. Preferring to focus on how big issues affect people on a small scale, he writes about the people whose stories often go untold. Most recently he has been focusing on immigration and examining families that are altered or divided as a result of deportation.
Wanting to give back to his community, in 2011 Eli founded Press Pass Mentors—a non-profit that couples established journalists with low-income high school students. The mentoring process allows these underprivileged students to get valuable writing guidance, and gives them the skills needed to get into college (such as SAT preparation, college applications, and scholarship letters) and prepares them to succeed in college-level courses. At the completion of the 18-month program, the students also receive a scholarship to further their education. It is an organization founded on the idea that by making college a viable option for these disadvantaged students, an entire world of new opportunities is opened up to them.
It’s obvious that Eli is invested in the people he writes about, and with his amiable demeanor it is easy to imagine how people open up to him and share their personal stories. He is a great example of someone who has worked to make a difference in his community, and without a doubt a wonderful addition to the Hatch network.