News clips

Please find a selection of clips below. Other clips can be found on my staff profile page at the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

I worked with former Marine Embassy Guard Larry Morris for the better part of a month to tell his story: He and two other Marines took down the American flag at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba on Jan. 4, 1961. On Aug. 14 he returned to Havana — to the same spot where he’d been surrounded by 1,000 Cubans at the flagpole 54 years earlier — and helped Secretary of State John Kerry reopen the building he’d been forced to evacuate.

I’d never before covered a court hearing, much less a murder trial, when I was assigned this day-turn story. It’s the tale of a drug deal gone bad; it’s an illustration of grief that endures despite a judge’s ruling.

When my editor handed me this assignment, he just wanted a quick-turn event preview that highlighted the Willy Shuman Family Fun Night. The story of Willy’s death had been told — Charlestonians knew he was a passenger in a car crashed by a drunk driver. But I found something new. Shuman gave one last tennis lesson hours before the fatal crash. I got in touch with the boy he’d coached. My editor gave me more time and space. I wrote a pseudo-sports feature for the front page.

This was one of the hardest stories — to report and write — I was assigned in West Virginia. The challenge was to respect Brandon Mooney’s grieving family … and turn a Saturday feature for my editor. I wrote a narrative on deadline. Afterwards, I got some thank-you emails from firefighters. And Mooney’s family members shared the story on their Facebook pages.

I went out to cover the fair and write a Saturday feature … and came back with a hard news story. (When circumstances dictate it, you have to adapt.)

I embedded with HealthNet 5 — a medevac helicopter crew — for over a month. I discovered that some days crews don’t — can’t — fly. When they do, they’re not always going to a horrible accident. The work can be pretty mundane. It’s not as glamorous as their flight suits might suggest.

I broke news with this piece — twice. I wrote about the Kanawha Players theater troupe earlier in the summer, and I’d earned the group’s trust. The Players told me they were likely going to sell their theater, and they told me I’d be the first to know. They kept their promise. I broke that news, and then I learned a lot about the Coptic Church.

This day-turn piece that localized an international story isn’t my best writing. But it was pretty efficient reporting. And I didn’t misspell anyone’s name.