SWAG

My first story in the Gainesville Sun this semester landed on the front page! It’s about a community that needs help and a resource center that just opened to serve it called SWAG.

SWAG center tackling dilemmas facing southwest Gainesville’s poor

Looking back, I would’ve loved to spend more time at the center getting to know the people there, so I could tell the story through their eyes as a series of four of five vignettes. That didn’t fly with the Sun’s editors, and I ran out of time. But it’s ok. I still got a byline on a front-page centerpiece, and it looks wonderful with the photos and graphics.

As the reporter I’m shadowing, Morgan Watkins, told me, “You gave the front page of the Sun some much-needed SWAG today.”

 

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SPJ convention – Excellence In Journalism 2012

Last week I skipped a couple days of school to attend the Society of Professional Journalists annual convention. I drove down to Fort Lauderdale with six ladies from UF’s chapter, and we shared a hotel room right on the beach! Except for two sunrise photoshoots, we didn’t get to enjoy the sun and sand however because we were immersing ourselves in Excellence in Journalism 2012 — learning how to improve our craft, talking about exciting changes in the field and meeting other students and professionals.

Presidential Hugger

Pulitzer-winner and all-around awesome person Lane DeGregory, who I met during my internship at the Tampa Bay Times, traveled to my hometown for a story!

Presidential hugger just likes to lift people up

She interviewed a local pizza man known for his charity work who became famous after he scooped up President Barack Obama. I was blown away by Lane’s ability to capture so many wonderful details about her subject in such a hectic environment and short amount of time. This paragraph is hands down the best part of her piece, especially the last line.

“Van Duzer said he didn’t ask for permission; the Secret Service didn’t know it was coming. They had put away all the restaurant’s knives and scissors. But you can’t confiscate a bear hug.”

Here’s the story behind the story by Michael Kruse, another fantastic storyteller at the Times.

Up to speed

From now on I’ll be posting about the journalism I produce and consume. But to start off, here’s a quick recap of my last few months:

This summer I interned as a reporter with the Tampa Bay Times. I worked on the metro desk in the paper’s main office in St. Petersburg, Fla., and I contributed to the paper’s coverage of Tropical Storm Debby and an afternoon murder spree. I sat through city commission and school board meetings. I wrote about stingrays, red light cameras and house fires. I interviewed a diver preparing for the Olympics, a nerd showing off his Transformers collection, a mother who earned back custody of her kids.

Now I’m back in Gainesville to finish my last year at the University of Florida’s journalism school. My semester will be full of journalism — I’m taking beat reporting, law of mass communications, visual journalism and photojournalism lighting. For the next few months, I’ll be learning about media law, working on my photo and multimedia skills and freelancing for the local newspaper, The Gainesville Sun.

So if you have questions about first amendment rights, contact me. If you want to model in one of my shoots, get in touch. If you have an idea for something you think I should cover, let’s talk.

Welcome!

Welcome to the my online home of my journalism. Here you’ll find samples of my work and more information about where I’ve been and what I can do.

In my blog posts, I’ll shine a light on how I produce my work and why I love journalism. I’ll comment on my own work as well as that of others, in hopes of challenging all of us to consider what distinguishes good journalism from bad and to demand better. Good journalism that accurately informs and engages people is necessary now more than ever for a functioning democracy. I want to reach out to those who feel voiceless and hold those in power accountable. I hope my work will help you consider a new idea, step into different shoes or gain a better understanding of the world around you.

As a living, breathing person with strong passions, some stories seem more important to me than others, and I’ll naturally find stories related to these topics and post about them. While this list constantly evolves, here’s a few subjects that light my fire these days:

  • media ethics
  • ecological sustainability
  • social inequality
  • democracy movements
  • food politics, economics and culture
  • localization and globalization
  • science and health care
  • education
  • human rights

Please contact me with any story ideas, questions or comments. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting!