Wow. I am getting old. It’s been 15 years since I was a Chips Quinn Scholar. In my second year at American University in Washington, D.C., a professor suggested I apply for a summer internship to see if I could make it as a cub reporter.
The CQS program assigned me to the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, N.Y. I am a proud Brooklyn kid, and running around covering news in a sleepy college city, and the even sleepier surrounding towns, created memories that will never leave my brain.
One of my first police stories was a caper that involved local cops chasing a baby bear who was roaming free in a residential neighborhood.
Hey, we’ve all got to start somewhere.
Fast forward to the present day. I am still drawn to the police beat. Instead of bears, I have the rare opportunity to dive deep into the 21st-century challenges of American policing as a staff writer for The Marshall Project. In 2014, I left my job at the New York Daily News — my hometown paper — to join a newsroom that didn’t exist. TMP, as we call ourselves, is named after the great Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and has a mission I believe in: To impact reform throughout our country’s troubled criminal justice system.
It’s sorta strange not being at a newspaper anymore. But start-up nonprofit media outlets are the next phase of journalism, and it’s pretty awesome to land at a place where everyone shares the same goal. Still, there are days I miss chasing a baby bear or two.
(Read a recent story by Simone Weichselbaum here.)
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