I'm a journalist: reporter, watchdog, writer and editor. My mission is to enlighten and empower – and sometimes even entertain – by sharing something previously unknown to my audience.
My storytelling transcends platforms. I produce stories for print, digital, radio and television.
I recently spent a year leading The Heartland Project, a collaboration based in Nebraska to enhance coverage of communities of color and LGBT issues.
I wrote and edited stories for newspapers and for broadcast. And I coached reporters on how to make stories more inclusive and diverse.
I gathered sound, wrote scripts and narrated reports for radio broadcast. As a television field producer, I helped reporters sharpen their reporting, writing and on-air performance.
As a journalist-in-residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I lectured on diversity, reporting and ethics. I also mentored and coached students.
I have the depth and experience of a veteran hard news reporter. As a Washington-based political reporter for the Boston Globe, I covered Congress and traveled the country during the 2012 presidential election. At the Sacramento Bee, I covered the policy, politics and human consequences of the health care system. I also served a tour of duty in Iraq for McClatchy Newspapers.
In my backpack, you'll find the tools of a hands-on digital journalist: a video-ready DSLR camera, an iPad, a couple of audio recorders and a laptop loaded with software to produce multimedia storytelling and code websites.
To see where I've worked and what I've done, please take a look at my resume.
The Heartland Project
My career has mostly been immersed in ink, as a reporter for some of the country's best newspapers. As the lead reporter for The Heartland Project, I showed my versatility across platforrms -- producing stories for print, radio and television. The Heartland Project was a yearlong grant-funded experiment to help newsrooms across Nebraska better cover their communities, particularly the ethnic enclaves that seldom get attention. As a journalist-in-residence at the University of Nebraska, I served as a lecturer in journalism classes and was a resource for students and faculty on newroom diversity and inclusive coverage.
Reported from 13 states during the election, from New England to the Rockies, trailing candidates as they hopscotched from one battleground to the next. Kept tabs on Congress while on the road, and circled back to Washington to serve as the White House pool reporter. It's a privilege to witness at work the world's most important institutions of power.
Laos is a country struggling with its history. A fellowship through the International Center for Journalists gave me an opportunity to glimpse some of those struggles. Laos is trying to modernize its health care system, for example, but the country's long history of shamanism pose obstacles. The country also cannot escape its history of war. By most accounts, Laos is the most heavily bombed country ever. During a secret war waged by U.S. forces four decades ago, warplanes dropped 270 million explosives on Laos. An estimated 80 million bombs never exploded, and 300 people, most of them children, are killed or seriously injured yearly.
This series began with a call from a mother despondent over her grown son's cancer and the challenges he faced in getting medical care. Her son, Tony Andrade, was uninsured, and in many ways the Everyman of President Obama's push for overhauling the health care system: working, but for low wages, without health benefits -- in the company of 37 million employed Americans who are uninsured.
What's wrong with the country's health care system? A lot. The country prides itself with developing cutting-edge medical technology, but first-rate health care is out of reach for millions of Americans because they are uninsured or underinsured. Critics blame insurers for high premiums. But it's more complicated than that. As a health care policy reporter, I delved into the drivers behind the rising cost of medicine by mining and analyzing databases, studies, scientific research and statistical surveys.
The chief of security banged on my door in the wee hours of the morning, jolting me from bed. A car bomb was heading our way, he yelled. Another false alarm? There was a war out there, and I was not about to take that chance. I launched into the routine: I slid open the balcony door, slipped on clothes over my bullet-proof vest and waited for further orders. The nightly commotion of Baghdad swept into my room in a rundown hotel that housed McClatchy's Iraq bureau. Sirens wailed in the distance. Arcs of light streaked across the sky. The thwack of military choppers sliced the air from above, as the rat-tat-tat of gunfire erupted from below. I sat on the edge of my bed, frightened and yet fortunate for the opportunity to report on one of the biggest stories of our times.
From war protests to city bankruptcies, from forest fires to major league baseball's World Series, I've jumped on nearly every kind of story worth covering. Journalists inform, educate and spur debate, fulfilling a key role in our society. We keep the institutions of power honest. At our best, we strengthen our communities and our democracy.