Early last year, I started a new internship in a new city and my first story assignment was one of the most unfortunate I have ever received.
It was June 2019.
This was one my first days at my internship at the Kansas City Star. My editors informed me of an incredibly sad story about an area high school soccer coach who recently experienced the suicide of his brother. The team marched on and won state. It was devastating, but also inspiring, and I was assigned the story.
Over the course of three weeks, I met the coach, his family, the players and interviewed them all. I felt uneasy. I had never experienced anything like their loss, so reporting on this story felt a little like walking through your house with the lights off — you know your surroundings, but you have to operate carefully and trust your instincts.
When the story finally hit the shelves, I felt relieved, but most importantly, the family did too. They were happy that their story was told, that more people could know about their loved one and the way he touched everyone he knew. I felt honored that these gracious people trusted me to tell their story, which changed their lives in the worst way.
Anyway, I’m telling you this to introduce myself and let you know that I want to tell your stories. The Post Register covers a town of roughly 60,000 and we cover five high schools in Idaho Falls and more than a dozen more within the area, which means I can’t learn of every story organically. I would feel so grateful if you reached out with any stories you feel deserve telling.
The good news is that I come from a town about the same size, and from a newspaper where I wrote stories like the one I described above.
In May, I graduated from the journalism school at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, my hometown. Across those four years, I learned what it took to become a good reporter, in sports and otherwise.
I did some of that learning in school, but I did most of it at a publication called The Manhattan Mercury, the city newspaper that I worked for during college. I covered high school and Kansas State sports, from football to basketball to a sports psychologist who helped her clients without sniffing a stadium.
One of the more important things I’ve learned, though, is that it’s about people. I may cover sports, but really, I cover people who play sports. Athletes are humans, no matter the level they compete at, which means they feel elated and anxious and regretful and all the emotions that make us similar.
Put another way, the star quarterback may throw a game-winning touchdown, but he might go home and dwell on a strained relationship with a family member.
These are the types of stories I want to tell here at The Post Register. They don’t have to be sad — for athletes and coaches' sakes, I'd prefer if they weren't — but it’s important that they’re meaningful. I love covering games and meets, college signings and senior nights, but a big reason why I love this job so much is because I get to know people on a deeper level and tell a story readers haven’t heard before.
That can take any number of forms. I’ve covered more somber topics, like the story I shared at the beginning of this column, pieces that resonate in ways more serious than fun.
But I’ve also written about some really lighthearted things: A volleyball team’s tradition where players draw on mini-volleyballs and toss them to the crowd during pregame introductions, a football team’s equipment staff, a basketball team’s nutritionists and the measures they take to fuel players of all types of builds and backgrounds.
So let’s have some fun! You can reach me via email or by phone, both of which will appear at the end of this article. After all, that’s how I found out about the story I used to kick this column off.
You might know that covering a community is a time-consuming job, so I can't promise to get to every story you send in, but I will try my absolute best.
Telling stories is my biggest passion. I would be honored to learn more and tell yours.
I just have to know about it first.