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“The People behind the Papers” is a Q&A series featuring the employees of 22nd Century Media who play an integral role in producing 15 community newspapers. The project is designed to give readers an inside look at the personalities that drive the journalism you have read weekly in print and daily on our websites. To support the work we do, please consider subscribing at www.SubscribeMessenger.com or through any of our other 14 newspapers.
What do you do at 22nd Century Media?
I am the assistant managing editor in our North Shore branch and the editor of The Winnetka Current. On a regular day in the newsroom, I am either editing stories from reporters, packaging stories together for the web and print, running social media pages, meeting with editors, or heading out into the community myself to cover an event or interview a source.
What does your job at 22nd Century Media mean to you?
I began my 22nd Century Media career in 2013 after graduating from Illinois State University. I was eager to find any newsroom to work in, and luckily stumbled upon one that I loved — between the people, the community and the work. While this job means a lot to me, I hope what I provide to the community means even more. My goal has always been to deliver what the community needs between breaking news stories, in-depth investigative pieces and community features each and every week.
What is the most memorable story you’ve written during your time here?
That’s tough. Some of the ones that stand out to me right away are: ‘Bachelor’ party hosted by Chris Soules’ sister benefits WCNS; Doctor subs in for busboy, saves life minutes into first shift in Winnetka; and Northfield first responders help deliver baby in home emergency. I think those pop into my mind first because I easily connected with the sources and had such a fun time writing them. There are also some breaking news pieces, like the 2018 murder in Northfield, that have impacted me heavily as a journalist because I learned how to cover tough subjects and gather the necessary news for the public.
What have you learned about the community you cover that you otherwise might not have known?
I have learned this village truly cares for its neighbors. The residents here are also passionate. Everyone plays a part in something, whether that’s with their involvement in the Village, community organizations or the schools and more.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
Ever since I became a homeowner a couple years back, I love DIY home projects. If I’m not working on a project, I’m probably spending time with my family and friends, walking my puppy (Luna), cooking or gardening.
What’s one thing even your co-workers probably don’t know about you?
I was stung by a jellyfish — two different times — on my honeymoon in Jamaica.
What is your perfect work lunch situation?
Hometown Coffee & Juice’s garden caprese toast. Heaven. On. Earth. If I could sit outside soaking in some sun, that’s a plus.
How are you riding out this COVID-19 pandemic?
I’m watching all of the Harry Potter movies for the first time (I know I've missed out, sorry), cleaning and organizing anything in sight, getting beat badly in Mario Kart by my husband, and making more home-cooked meals than I ever have before.
Anything else you want people to know?
I didn’t get into journalism to become a millionaire. I found a passion that I loved in high school and carried it through my college years. I don’t have one regret. I love putting a voice to people’s stories, and there is nothing like the rush of adrenaline with a breaking news story. To the people in Winnetka and Northfield, I have laughed; I have cried; and I have cheered from the sidelines with you. I've been there for your biggest moments, good or bad, and I hope to continue being there for you in the future.