One year ago today, the first story I wrote for The Evening Sun was printed. It wasnít placed online, but I still have that edition. Also, the ĎTrip Aí counter on my car is at 777 miles. These things mean today is going to be a good day.
Also, Itís been a hell of a year.
As a reporter for Chenango Countyís hometown daily, Iíve covered community events: activities for children, parades, school plays and musicals. I attended school board and town and/or village board meetings.
I went to a forum on the SAFE Act a couple weeks after I started, where hundreds spoke out against the enacted legislation. It was approximately one month later when I held my first AR. And not long after, I learned how to properly handle and operate an AR, AK, and some other useful tools (Mind you, I was not in New York State).
On May 17, 2013, an arrest was made for the murder of Jennifer Ramsaran. Former Staff Writer Kevin Doonan and I headed straight for the courthouse. Arrested and accused is Ganesh Ramsaran, and since the arrest I havenít missed a court date. I still remember venturing up to the house as a scared little Ďcub reporter.í
In this past year, Iíve found my voice. To be clear, Iíve always been opinionated (just ask my sister), but Iím not merely referencing opinion pieces. I mean, Iíve found what I love to do.
I covered an event regarding a wrongfully convicted Muslim man. A group advocating for the manís release from prison was walking through the county on the way to Binghamton to drop off a petition to the judge. I forgot until this morning, that article landed me a death threat or two.
I wrote about a Norwich woman who aided in the arrest of a serial killer who has been considered by some to be the ďmost prolific serial killer in America.Ē
I had the pleasure of covering the life and journey of the precious ďBaby Corbin.Ē I still remember the balloon release held for him in New Berlin. I was busy taking photos for the paper, but I had balloons for him in my car. I released them on a back road on my way back to town and cried. There were seven, they were blue, and they had giraffes drawn on them Ė as promised in my final column about him.
Things Iíve written have been linked on websites including freestateproject.org, freekeene.com, porcfest.com, a gun rights site out of Long Island, a Ron Paul forum, and a lawyer out of Binghamton linked three of my news stories on his website.
I interviewed a drug dealer while in the county jail and wrote about it. It has garnered more than 600 ďlikesĒ on our website. More than Iíve seen on any story Iíve clicked on in the archive. It was also read and discussed in depth on a nationally syndicated talk radio show, Free Talk Live.
That opinion piece earned me a death threat at a gas station in the Town of Norwich.
I wrote an opinion piece about the pistol permit process (part two to come soon). Another about how dancing is not permitted at the Jefferson Memorial, and how children have been punished for selling lemonade (operating a business without a permit).
Iíve written my opinion regarding light sentences for sex offenders. Then, I witnessed a victim testifying, and for a moment understood why such cases donít often go to trial. I donít want a sex offender to walk, but hearing a child re-live abuse on a stand in front of strangers is devastating.
Iím pretty sure I even referenced ďFull HouseĒ in an opinion piece.
But I digress.
This county has (as of 2012 reports) 49,933 residents, and it has 49,933 opinions. Thatís a beautiful thing.
As a reporter covering stories, I report the news as it occurs. As an editor, I build all but three of pages of the paper. As a human, I have an opinion that I sometimes print on this very page. No offense is ever intended.
Iíve been accused of being a liberal. Iíve been accused of being a conservative. Both make me laugh.
I mentioned this past year that Iíve found my voice. By that, I mean my favorite news stories to cover are the edgy ones. The stories that take months to prepare because Iíve had to submit FOIL requests for information. The stories that might make some folks uncomfortable.
Which leads me to one of my favorite quotes, one from George Orwell:
ďJournalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.Ē
On a daily basis I can be found with a notebook (or seven) in my purse, a pen or two in my hair, and my phone on record (New York is a one-party consent state).
... And Iím happy.