Jack Schumacher, at age 14, died of a rare bone cancer and was possibly another victim of a West Salem osteosarcoma cluster. ANNA REED / Statesman Journal
March was a great month. The Statesman Journal published some meaningful stories surrounding sexual abuse at a local church and families facing homelessness. It was so nice to feel like we are doing real watchdog journalism. Riding in a fire engine ladder and getting splattered with neon paint was just a fun bonus.
Kim Kinney’s longtime partner died by suicide in 2015. To treasure his memory, she walks in the Out of the Darkness walk for suicide awareness and prevention.
September is for football/fútbol.
The summer has sped by. In May, a reporter and I out went out to the Oregon Coast for three days to learn how the recreational marijuana industry is affecting the already booming tourism industry. The video I made is above. The complete story, along with other USA Today recreational marijuana stories, can be seen here. The full series was published all across the country on July 31.
Otherwise, the Statesman Journal Sports Awards and vacation (imagine that) took up most of my time in June. July was back to normal. We’ll see how August and the total solar eclipse that is passing over Oregon goes. I’ll be back out at the coast to cover the hordes of people expected to descend upon Oregon.
April saw the publication of two stories I had worked on for a long time. First, a story on a surrogate here in Oregon who was carrying a child for a New York couple. Oregon is one of the most surrogacy-friendly places in the country and the world. I spent several months following both families as they worked together to bring a child into their worlds. In October of last year, the baby boy was born. I was able to be in the delivery room and see those first moments when Will and Dan met their son after he had been carried for nine months by Yessenia. It was simply amazing. The story was part of a larger USA Today project on the laws and emotions surrounding infertility and the lengths potential parents go to to have a child. The Will and Dan portion of the project can be seen here.
Second, I pursued a story at a new place in downtown Salem. Church Street Boxing is actually on Church Street, but it is also a church/boxing gym combo. Sundays, people gather to worship. And the rest of the week, people come to workout and learn to box. The pastor behind the space says he likes that both the boxing and the spiritual guidance teach the same values; determination, discipline and a sense of direction.
This video was difficult to put together because of the lack of b-roll and the complicated history behind the story. But I am actually happy with how it turned out.
Apparently all I cover now is sports.
I completely spaced putting together an August blog post, so here is a double.
Just two days before our deadline for a story on how homelessness affects students, we found a family. Carolyn Reitzer and her four children let me into their lives, after several weeks of working with shelters to find a family with school-age children willing to let the paper interview and photograph them.
Carolyn and her children were more than welcoming. I was able to photograph them three different times in less than 36 hours. And while I, personally, would have loved to have more time with them, I was very happy with how comfortable the family was with me around. You can see the full story and photo gallery here.
April was full of stories about students, including vandalism, science and prom season.
I’ve been working this story of Chris and his mom for a couple of months now. The story, photos and video were published by the Statesman Journal today. Here it is.