There's a story behind every story. And beneath that one, there's another one. I've always believed that my main responsibility as a feature writer is to find them. Through detailed and oftentimes emotional interviews, I've translated the stories of Pittsburg High into words.
Read my best features by clicking the buttons underneath the images below.
A place to finally call
NOTE: This was the first investigative piece I wrote, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I intended for it to be an update on our local food pantry's services, but after my first interview, I discovered a much bigger story
— homeless youth. As the youngest student on my staff, I changed my angle and spoke with advocates from my city police department, reviewed city household incomes and conducted emotional interviews with students who battled homelessness. The student voices in this story magnified a hidden issue in our community.
*First Place — 2016 November Kansas Scholastic Press Association Monthly Contest: Feature Writing
*Third Place — 2017 New England Center for Investigative Reporting National Watchdog Contest
Art by | Alivia Bendict
Photo by | Ximena Ibarra
Learning to love yourself
for who you love
NOTE For my part of our LGBTQ+ Pride staff coverage, I told the story of a student who struggled with accepting himself after he came out as gay. He was very open and trusted me enough to share one of the most sensitive parts of his journey: his suicide attempt, which I decided to include, despite the journalism world's general disapproval of covering it (view the "Law and Ethics" section to read more about it). I interviewed him multiple times to tell his emotional story and talked to the Student Press Law Center to make sure I was telling it ethically. I also approached his mother and other family members to discuss what was a very sensitive topic for all of them.
Photo by | Aubrey Bolinger
NOTE: After overhearing that students were using a new, unheard-of e-cigarette on school property called a "JUUL," I immediately knew we had to cover it. We wanted to educate the student body and staff members on something that could have been putting students' health in jeopardy. Most teachers we spoke to didn't know what a JUUL was and our administration didn't think many students were using the e-cigarette. With a co-writer, I sifted through studies and research, spoke with health professionals and anonymously interviewed students who JUULed on school property. Our biggest challenge was finding student sources because of how hidden JUULing was, so our staff helped us.
You can also read more of my features under the Multimedia Broadcast tab.