ABOUT ME          

 

Though raised my first decade on an apple orchard in tiny Berky, OH, I "grew up" in the slightly less tiny Port Clinton, OH. A seedy tourist community warped by alcoholism, a boom/bust yearly calendar, and the isolation of Ottawa County's peninsular shape, the place literally marinates in it own dark stew. Visit and it's lovely. Don't stay.

In school I leaned toward art. Obvious. Any smart kid in a trap tends to draw on the walls. Perhaps more counter-intuitive, I also leaned toward math.

It would be much later before realizing I loved The Story: writing it, organizing it, imagining it, planning it, scrapping it and rebuilding it stronger. This of course included art (illustration and photography) and math (graphic design and budgets).

It was 2001 when I finally finished 17th grade, matriculating at The Ohio State University with a BFA in Art & Technology (like a fine arts graphic design degree), with minors in English (creative writing) and Business (marketing). Troubled and freed without art or a class schedule for the first time in 19 years I decided to travel.

During undergrad, I had applied for a design internship at a small-time, now defunct high-school sports magazine. Instead they offered an editorial internship. I took it and enjoyed the experience. But, it was during my two months alone in Europe — in Stockholm for 9/11 — that I first seriously considered writing as a career.

Once back in Columbus, OH I wrote for local music Web sites and entertainment magazines. But, through a family friend, I was put in touch with something then-called The Pencil Group; a semi-fledgling kids' news site based in Toledo, OH.

 

 

In late August 2002, a year to the week of going abroad and deciding to write professionally, I began my first big assignment. For 7,000 miles and 21 days, a partner and I retraced the steps of Lewis & Clark— in a sponsored Honda, wearing replica trail clothes, and living off only beef jerky and cheese bread. All for the bicentennial celebration of the explorers. Daily, and often from strange uplinks like hallways and the homes of strangers, I filed multiple photos and 750-word journal entries.

Those clips earned me a staff writing position at Brown Publishing Company's Greene County Dailies. Resting approximately 30 miles East of Columbus, the county is a motley American mix. Xenia, for Gummo. Yellow Springs, for Antioch College. Fairborn, for Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Wilberforce, for the nation's first black college. I could go on.

There I interviewed a man on death row, and witnessed another man's lethal injection. I covered municipal scandals, small town heroics and middle-America's struggle with crumbling infrastructure. It was my first journalism class.

For two years I wrote and photographed for the Xenia Daily Gazette and Fairborn News Herald, leaving as Bureau Chief of the latter. Because of pay, an increasing desire to move away from the daily format toward narrative in-depth information, and a renewed interest in art and design, I moved back to Columbus to start my own publication.

2004 saw the publishing of American Type_Writer, which was a sort of magazine version of The Onion for Ohio's capitol. It lasted one issue and a few months of intermitent online posts. No one read it. I couldn't support it. It died.

 

But I knew I'd done done right, and that magazine life was for me. I did everything for AT_W: design, photography, illustration, Web construction, real reporting, fake headline writing, etc. I loved the whole process. So in late 2005 I narrowed my choices of graduate journalism programs to three and moved in with the folk in Toledo to start saving money.

I johnny-on-the-spotted a part-time "staff writer" position at the Toledo City Paper, a 90K circulation alt. weekly newspaper which covers local flavor. I used quotation marks because that job saw my contributions range from cover art and page design, to illustration and production, to editing a parenting publication and proof reading promotional copy— in addition to a dozen cover stories and countless write-ups.

The Medill School of Journalism program at Northwestern University was/is one of the few in the country where candidates may pursue all aspects of publishing at the highest level. I enrolled on partial scholarship in January 2007, forgoing Cal-Berkeley and the University of British Columbia. A year later I earned a Master of Science in Journalism, focusing on magazine writing, content and design. My studies included extensive professional training in new media journalism, writing, photography, research, reporting, copy editing, photography, and A/V production and editing.

I put together this portfolio in January. Thanks for not stealing my car. Peace.