People used to ask me why I loved journalism. The answer was always the same: I got paid to write, and I got to help people by finding and telling the truth.
I spent twelve years as a newspaper and magazine reporter, founded and ran an online magazine with 20+ staffers (writers, photographers, etc.), did some freelancing, worked as a radio broadcaster in college, and even produced a documentary in Brazil with my wife. I won various journalism awards and was a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., and North American Soccer Reporters.
But that’s just the nut graph.
The real story is that I wasn’t like most reporters. I didn’t enjoy chasing sensational stories like murders or scandals.
Rather, I found compelling stories hiding in plain sight, the ones that you never noticed were affecting your life until you read about it. The political corruption nobody else could prove. The environmental catastrophe that changed a way of life. The prison riot the government tried to cover up. The uplifting story of hope you didn’t know existed.
For me, journalism was — is — about honesty, integrity, honor, and perseverance. You get paid so little to do so much. For an idealist like me, that was the life. It shaped who I am. Or perhaps more accurately, it helped me to find and understand who I am. I never fell out of love with it.
Here are some of my clips.
Some of my favorites
- Ambury Hill: A forgotten cemetery for black Civil War veterans near a key stop on the Underground Railroad.
- Vanishing shores: The story of the Delaware Bayshore towns that died beneath the rising seas.
- Inside a women’s prison labor shop: Hope and redemption inside Montana Women’s Prison.
- 2001 columns: At age 25, I won a Pennsylvania Newspaper Association award for best columnist.