I've written more than 1,500 news stories. Here are five of my favorites.
In my relatively short journalism career, I have written more than 1,500 articles, according to a website that tracks such things called Muck Rock.
As I move to the next stage of my journalism career, I wanted to share some of my favorites with the readers of The Yampa Valley Bugle. Think of it as me sending you my clips.
This was a really cool opportunity to venture beyond Routt County and cover an issue with national significance. While the horses in the Sand Wash Basin in Moffat County are not the largest herd, some consider them to be the most special.
Their unique color patterns draw visitors from across the country, and I certainly found that out after writing this story. In one day after it was published, I talked to folks from Florida to California and everywhere in between. They are deeply passionate about these horses and are concerned about their fate.
The star of this story is John F. Russell though, whose photos pull it all together. Read the story here. I’ve written more about the horses too, following these Sand Wash horses to an adoption event in Florence, Colorado, covering a deadly outbreak at the Bureau of Land Management’s holding facility and the gather that happened last summer in Rio Blanco County.
We talked about doing this story as the whole team at Steamboat Pilot & Today was helping out with coverage of the 50th Rainbow Family Gathering, which took place in a part of Routt County north of Hayden. This was a truly unforgettable experience and I am really happy with how the story turned out.
We had covered many aspects of the Rainbow Gathering, so I felt this was a good opportunity to find out why the people that participated — some driving from the far reaches of the country — came to the gathering’s apex on July 4, 2022.
Walking through the gathering was a crazy experience and I am pretty sure I was offered acid more than once while I was there. I did politely say no thanks. Read the story here and check out the whole Pilot team’s coverage here.
This story isn’t super relevant to the Yampa Valley audience, but it is a story that I am super proud to have produced with my colleague at the Minnesota Daily, Tiffany Bui. I had got these records through an open records request to the university where I didn’t know what I would find.
Eventually, we realized it was a pretty big story and started our reporting. Then one night the victim of the harassment called me out of the blue. That led to an in-person interview and a story that was a pretty big talker on campus. While it happened after I had left the Daily, there was eventually a settlement with the university.
I learned so much about how to meet people where they are, be sensitive in my reporting and build trust with someone going through a very traumatic experience. Read the story from one of the oldest college newspapers in the country, the Minnesota Daily, here.
This story was one then editor of the Steamboat Pilot & Today Lisa Schlitchman had told me to get on my radar, and then the Routt County Commissioners called a special meeting to have a summit on the issue. That accelerated my timeline, so I spent a whole day calling and talking to people impacted by the severe lack of child care locally and the next day writing what at the time was the longest story I have ever written.
The coolest part of this story in my opinion is how the community has responded to the issue. Hayden added Totally Tots, Steamboat Resort opened their own childcare center and the city of Steamboat Springs, Routt County and the Colorado Department of Transportation are in talks to add another facility.
To me, this shows the power journalism has to inform a community and allow folks to work together to address their problems. Read the story here.
This was actually the third fire I wrote about that day, with one happening in North Routt the day before and another in Hayden earlier that Sunday. We heard the call over the scanner and debated whether to send me to the scene for quite a while before Lisa told me to go.
I drove out to Routt County Road 16 where officials were gathering to look at the fire and begin their plan for addressing it. This kind of breaking news reporting can be stressful but also very rewarding. I was texting info back to the team in the newsroom and then rushed back to Steamboat to put a story together before we needed to go to print.
Breaking news stories often don’t read as well as you would hope after the fact, but this one holds up I think. Also an interesting little tidbit, I was camping in the Flat Tops with my cousin the day before and I distinctly remember one of the loudest lightning strikes I have ever heard. That strike may have been the one that started this fire, as it happened around the time officials say the blaze started. Read the story here.