Multimedia journalism is more than being able to operate a camera to add a quick picture to a story. I pursue each form of journalism, written and visual, by pushing the envelope. My main focus on an assignment is to create art that informs and engages.
I'm experienced in many forms of media, including print, digital and radio. My primary focus has been community-based journalism, explicitly reporting on local government, politics, breaking news, public safety, courts and sports. But I've covered events large and small to local, statewide and national audiences.
I strive to out-expert the experts on public records, using my position to educate governments on the importance of openness and transparency while simultaneously utilizing those tools to shine the spotlight.
In March 2011, three months before my high school graduation, I became a full-time journalist at my hometown newspaper, where I had been a correspondent for several months. I've climbed the ladder since, ascending to my current position of Editor of the Ottumwa Courier and Oskaloosa Herald.
In more than 11 years with CNHI, LLC, the parent company of the Ottumwa Courier and Oskaloosa Herald, I've won company awards for photographer of the year three times and reporter of the year once.
I've claimed numerous other state and national accolades for my reporting and photography.
In 2019, a story I led finished as a finalist in the Investigative Reporters and Editor's sports reporting award. That story uncovered that former coaches of a community college baseball team were assigning false identities to foreign-born players so they could work security jobs to make money for the baseball program. The college had refused to answer questions after the departure of a long-time hall-of-fame head coach and laid multiple hurdles in accessing public records. In the end, I told the story anyway, using various first-hand knowledge sources and various open records.
Another reporting effort into Iowa's mental health system, including efforts by private institutions to block the construction of additional resources, earned a national award for explanatory reporting by the Inland Press Association.
Over my career, I've taken a hands-on approach to professional involvement. I'm a founding member and current vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association. In addition, I've served as a trustee for the Iowa Freedom of Information Council for three years, including two years as the president. In the court system, I am a volunteer media coordinator where I ensure members of the media and the public have access to Iowa's court system by handling logistics and applying pressure for openness when a party asks to keep court proceedings out of the public's eye.