If I’d earned different academic degrees, they might be for microbial ecology or astrophysics, with a slight chance of communications law or architecture. Instead, journalism provided the passport necessary for me to explore water chemistry for National Geographic, education for The Washington Post, library architecture for Curbed, music for Washingtonian, literary medicine for The Writer, and casket cartels for Medium (editor’s pick).
Sports, however, dominate my life and my freelance work. Stories range from track coaches and Olympians in mid-Missouri to octogenarian age-groupers in LA and from professional ballet dancers who run in Chicago to an All-American who quit running in DC and a math teacher who keeps running in New York.
I’m always searching for the gap, the great story that nobody’s told (and a championship ring).
One of my favorite pieces in the last several years is an essay about my job as President for a day. I love words. But story dictates form. Sometimes pictures (bottom). Or videos. Or maps. Or GIFs. I’ve hosted live TV segments, produced a one-off podcast, and performed stories live on stage in front of 750+ people.
Occasionally a situation requires an abundance of deeply researched words and words and words. We call them books. Beyond the Gray Leaf is the biography of a forgotten Civil War poet from Illinois who presented his work to America’s leaders. Pens, Plows, & Gunpowder offers the poet’s collected writings, which I compiled for the first time ever.