When Caton Deuso first stepped onto Castleton campus in 2018, they really didn’t have an idea of what they wanted to do here. Something in the Media and Communication department was the hope, but they were unsure of a direction.
That is until they took a journalism course with professor Dave Blow.
Now, three years later, Deuso is working as a full-time reporter and has returned to Castleton to help current journalism students during Sunday newspaper design sessions.
“I kind of slowly made my way into journalism because Dave has a great way of being like ‘come to a Spartan meeting’ and then you’re there for the rest of them. And then editor for some reason. It just continues down the line,” Deuso said with a chuckle.
A 2020 graduate, Deuso took up a job opportunity at the Whitehall Times in March of 2021 – taking the place of another Castleton alum and Deuso’s good friend, Jay Mullen. Atop covering six stories a week and designing sections of the paper, Deuso is also currently working on the publication’s annual “fall guides.”
“That job is a lot of work. But I’m glad to have been able to pass the torch to them. They deserve it,” said Mullen of Dueso. “I think Caton is gonna do a really great job there. I’m just super happy for them.”
Deuso received an associate’s degree in liberal studies from Community College of Vermont in 2018 and began taking classes at Castleton shortly after – actually taking the journalism courses backwards. The first class they took at Castleton was the junior-level course, Feature Writing, and eventually they worked their way back to Introduction to Communication and Introduction to Journalism.
“Right off the bat, they clearly had a grasp of language and had writing talent and was very likable too. Caton is the type of person who I think people like to talk to and I think that’s an art, that’s a skill,” Blow said. “I saw talent for sure and I liked having them in my class.”
Quickly Blow convinced Deuso to attend a Spartan meeting and, originally only interested in photojournalism, they slowly discovered a passion for writing. In a year, Dueso was an editor alongside Mullen and, at the time, managing editor Brenden Crowley.
But the road was not without some bumps.
“I know they got a little bogged down with The Spartan because it’s a lot, but they persevered so much and got some great stories out,” Crowley said. “Being editors together, I saw Caton go through each story and struggle through it, but always come out with something great. So to see them start with a minimal workload and then just keep going and going to become the copy editor, just was awesome to see.”
Deuso, Mullen, and Crowley became fast friends, with Mullen even bestowing Deuso with the nickname “Crouton,” that stuck.
A helping hand
Though Deuso said the work as a reporter can be tedious, it’s been more than rewarding to be able to live on their own and do something they love for a job, saying, “it makes it feel like less of a job.”
The double concentration in journalism and media studies has been a boon to their career and helps them do a little bit of everything at the Whitehall Times. After writing almost 100 stories there thus far, Deuso is more confident than ever.
Recently, Deuso wrote a piece on a police chase that brought in over 60,000 views. They arrived on scene even before the chief of police did. Not included in any written story was the fact they had to jump out of bed and almost “eat it” on their way out the door.
With in-the-field experience now under their belt, Deuso has returned to Castleton to assist young journalists in designing the paper – their favorite part as an undergraduate.
“I never expected to actually follow through with a plan like that, but I’m glad that I did. I think with the time that I didn’t end up having in my senior semester because of COVID, that
moment being there on a Sunday morning felt like I was able to go back to that a little bit,” Deuso said. “It’s nice to be able to take my skills that I’ve learned from the university and from life and just be able to give it back to other people.”
And Blow and his students are incredibly grateful.
“I’m so happy to have Caton back in the Spartan design room. One, they bring so much energy and laughter, but also their experience is so helpful,” current managing editor Aris Sherwood said. “Their commitment and passion for The Spartan had inspired me to want to continue, and it was even more inspiring to watch Caton get their first newspaper job out of college.”
Blow said he was not only incredibly psyched to see Deuso in the same spot as a reporter that he was in 30 years ago, but also that he hopes the passion only increases.
“It meant a lot that they wanted to come back,” Blow said. “Thinking about it, Caton is
working probably 50 hours a week anyway and for them to give up a portion of their Sunday to come back and do what they did as a student to help out, speaks volumes.”
Those who know and love Deuso are proud to see them flourish in this new position and are excited to see their future unfold. And while Deuso admits it’s not always “all sunshine and gumdrops”, they too, are excited for what lies ahead and urge students to keep their head up when things get tough.
“Keep moving forward. This too shall pass – like a kidney stone,” Deuso said with a laugh. “That overall feeling of ‘oh my god what if something goes wrong?’ I’m gonna tell you now, something is gonna go wrong. And it’s gonna suck a lot, but you just got to keep pushing through. You never know what’s on the other side of that door. Could be a pizza, could be a pipe bomb. Wow, I hate that I just said that. I know you’re gonna use that.”