"I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world."
I believe in the power of a good story, and the need to tell those stories to focus attention on any number of issues or problems, to highlight an inspiring individual, to provide a forum for a community-wide discussion on an issue that affects all. For the past 10 years, I've been producing award-winning journalism on diverse publication platforms:
I cut my reporter teeth at the Kalamazoo Gazette, where I worked as an intern in 2005, quickly rising through the ranks to cover some of the most important beats at the paper, including city hall, courts and the environment.
My work as both a staffer and freelancer focused on local and state politics, investigations, environmental and sustainability issues and long-form narrative features. The Grand Rapids Press, Detroit Free Press and several other newspapers in the state have published my work. I've also written for many online news outlets, including UPI and the now-shuttered Michigan Messenger.
While at the Gazette, I worked closely with Pat Zarkowski, the former city editor, whom I consider my most influential mentor, a man who drilled the mantra "Show me, don't tell me" into my head. Any talent I have for writing can be attributed to Pat's steady, intense and consistent mentorship.
Since 2011, I've been an independent producer for WMUK-FM, an award-winning NPR News affiliate located in Kalamazoo, Mich.
From a long-form news piece investigating the militarization of local police to a profile of lobstermen off the Maine coast and an intimate interview with one of the few surviving Civil Rights activists who marched the entire distance from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 (there were only 300), my work for the station has taken me across both the region and the nation..
More of my work for WMUK can be found below.
In the months before the 2012 presidential election, I took off on a reporting trip through the swing states of Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio and Virginia, living and working out of my VW van. The aim was to find every day folks who would share their hopes and wishes for the future, and culminated with a cover story for the Christian Science Monitor's election edition.
The project, the result of a successful crowd-funding campaign, was featured on several well-known media blogs, including Gigaom and Editor & Publisher. I've also written extensively for the alumni magazines of both Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College.
- 2015: Second place winner for 'Best Reporting in a Series' in the Public Radio News Directors Inc's (PRNDI) nationwide story competition for a three-part examination of police-community relations in the city of Kalamazoo. The same series won a Merit Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for in-depth reporting in a series.
- 2014: Second place winner in the annual PRNDI nationwide competition for 'Best Use of Sound' for a profile of the tiny town of Bombay Beach, a quirky, remote desert outpost in far southern California.
- 2010: Third place winner for 'Sustained Coverage of a Single News Event' in the Michigan Associated Press editorial news contest in Category III, which includes both Detroit papers. The award recognized work – both on breaking news and enterprise pieces – on the Kalamazoo River oil spill in the summer and fall of 2010.
- 2009: Winner, along with two other Kalamazoo Gazette staffers, of the Michigan Bar Association’s 2008 McCree Award for the Advancement of Justice for a series of stories that examined a botched prostitution sting by Kalamazoo law enforcement.
- 2008: Honorable Mention for 'Best News Story' of 2007 from the Michigan Press Association for a narrative piece on animal euthanasia.