A collection of some of my favorite stories this year

Every time I update my online portfolio, I remember how many cool stories I’ve written over the past three years at The Indiana Gazette.

While it’s true that I’ve been writing significantly less — because my efforts have been focused on the digital aspect of the company — some of this year’s story have been a lot of fun to write.

Here are some of my favorites from the past few months:

Couple gets married over Niagara in helicopter adventure

We all know I’m a sucker for writing a good love story — and this was certainly one. Plus, it helps that I went to journalism school with the bride!

For Brice, emotions guide songwriting

Biscuit, a 14-year-old, deaf beagle mix shown here before her adoption, is now the first full-time resident canine at Bethany Place Residential Care Center in White Township. (Submitted photo)

Biscuit, a 14-year-old, deaf beagle mix shown here before her adoption, is now the first full-time resident canine at Bethany Place Residential Care Center in White Township. (Submitted photo)

I’ve interviewed a few celebrities and artists over the years, but country singer Lee Brice was certainly the best interview I’ve had with one. He really opened up to me about his music. 

Region home to kayaking, canoeing opportunities

It’s always great to be able to combine my passions. In this case, I combined my love of the outdoors and the area’s recreational opportunities with my passion for writing. 

Pokemon Go craze sweeps Indiana

Remember when you couldn’t walk down the street without almost accidentally hitting a Pokemon Go player? I do. And I wrote about it. 

Shelter dog finds home at care facility

A collaboration with videographer James Nestor, this cute story about an elderly shelter pup adopted by a local care facility went viral. 

If you’re cruising around my site today, you’ll see that I’ve updated my homepage as well as my web projects section. Enjoy!

 

 

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Writing: It’s emotional

Perhaps a feeling that only fellow writers can share, writing can have its emotional moments. 

kennedy

Often readers find that they feel different emotions,sadness, happiness, whatever the case may be, when reading a writers’ work — that’s when it’s said that the writer has properly done their job. 

When a writer feels that emotion when putting their words on paper (or on computer), though, that’s when (hopefully) that emotion will definitely translate in print, invoking the same emotion to those who read it. 

I had one of those “emotional writing” moments this week — a few times. 

It began when I was given the assignment to track down memories. Memories of those who recalled the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. 

As a typical millennial, my first thought was to ask for people to share their memories on the Gazette’s Facebook page. My editor, of course, considered that those who are old enough to have been alive during the tragedy may not use social media, and put a call out in the print edition of our paper, too. 

Before I knew it, I had more than 100 emails, Facebook comments and letters, from those who remembered the day like it was yesterday, piled on my desk. IMG_20131123_223439

I couldn’t believe how many people were so willing to share their stories — some that had met the president when he visited Indiana, Pa., campaigning in 1960, some that had considered him the greatest president to have ever been in office and some that attended his funeral later that week with thousands of other Americans in Washington, D.C.

It was moving to read these submissions, and be able to relate to some of them even though I was born close to 30 years after the incident; to imagine these Gazette readers as young adults, teenagers and children hearing the news on their school loudspeakers, watching the funeral on television with their parents and to imagine the students at the school I attended, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, silently and solemnly walking through campus after hearing the news of the president’s death. 

A woman, who became a major part of the story I wrote, came in to the Gazette with photos, as well as a poppy that JFK had given her from his lapel when he was campaigning. Though it seems insignificant, on the 50th anniversary of his death, it was moving to be able to hold the small, red flower that had once been so close to the president’s heart. 

IMG_20131123_225735After days of waiting and reading as submissions continued to come in, I began to write. I remember being overwhelmed by all of the submissions, and wondering which I would use in my story, but when I started to type, the words just flowed. And flowed. Until next I knew it, I had 45 inches of text — which if you work in the newspaper business you’ll understand is quite a bit. 

When all was written, and I told the stories that could be told, I had a piece of work that I was actually proud of. Something that I will remember and save in my portfolio forever. It was exciting to see this article published in the paper that day.

Best yet, those that I quoted and interviewed expressed their praise for the story after it was published — something that rarely seems to happen. Something that lets me know that the story moved them as much as it moved me to write it. 

You can read the story here. 

 

Stories worth sharing

In my (almost) nine months at the Gazette (wow, that went by fast), I’ve been able to interview some really awesome people. People that have inspired me, have put things in perspective for me, and most importantly, have made me love my job.

Here are a few I think have been particularly great to write:

1. My absolute all-time favorite: Cancer survivor finds solace in yard work
There’s a chance that Bev Painter is the most inspiring individual I’ve ever met. This woman took up a hobby when she found out she had cancer, and completely contributes her cancer going away to this hobby: yard work. And not just any yard work, she spends hours every week cutting the edge of the yard with a pair of scissors to make it perfect.
bev

2. They say you never forget your first published story. Well, I haven’t. I loved writing about this cute kid, and his story makes the list because he’s where my career started: Amusement park reporter has local ties

3. Though this wasn’t the best story I’ve ever written, I loved writing it because I met a wonderful person in the process: Winery to host local authors. After writing this, the winery’s owner, Cay Enerson, made sure that I came out to visit. My friend Lauren and I had a great time touring the grounds and sampling the wines.

4. I love writing stories specifically about people. When I had the chance to do a Q&A session with a local cancer survivor, I made another new friend within the community. Here it is: Indiana cancer survivor serving as ‘face for the race’ fundraiser

5. Most recently, I interviewed a cute kid in Indiana who’s got his life all figured out–in fact he has bigger plans than most people my age have– and he’s only five years old. Fun stories like these brighten my day: Aspiring worker already on job
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Hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Danger, Do the Smoke Detector

This post is for Jake Williams, so he can hear about my pancake-burning adventures.

It was a dark and dreary morning, only 27 degrees outside when I received a text-message that woke me up. This text message was from my gym buddy, telling me that we should skip today on account of the massive amounts of ice on the roads.

“Ugh,” I thought, when I heard the snow plow drive up my street. “Snow sucks.”

I rolled out of my warm bed to find that I had never turned the heat on yesterday, and that it was quite cold in my apartment. Now that I wasn’t going to the gym, I had time to kill before going in to work at noon. This could only mean one thing:

I’m having brunch.

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