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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 sports editor for The Frankfort Station, The Mokena Messenger and The New Lenox Patriot. I cover all three Lincoln-Way high schools, as well as Providence and other local sports. On a typical week, when sports are happening, I attend multiple games a week, take photos and write stories. I also assign freelance writers and photographers, and edit their work.
What does your job at 22nd Century Media mean to you?
It really means the world to me. I've worked in local sports journalism for over a decade now, and have stuck with it through the ups and downs because I love it. Getting the opportunity to run my own sports sections at 22nd Century Media is something I have always wanted to do, and I've enjoyed it immensely.
What is the most memorable story you've written during your time here?
There have been many, but one that stands out is the feature I did on a high school hockey player recovering from a traumatic injury that nearly left him paralyzed.
What have you learned about the community you cover that you otherwise might not have known?
I've learned how passionate the people of Frankfort, Mokena and New Lenox are about their towns, their schools and their local sports teams.
What do you like to do for fun when you're not working?
I'm a big music fan and love going to concerts. I enjoy going to see movies, eating at restaurants, and basically anything that gets me out of the house (yes, I'm currently going stir crazy). I'm also — big shocker here — a huge sports fan.
What's one thing even your co-workers probably don't know about you?
While hiking in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois a few years ago, my parents and I discovered a small plane that had crashed the night before. It had vanished off radar and the authorities were searching for it that morning, but we had no idea and just stumbled upon it.
What is your perfect work lunch situation?
Grabbing a shrimp po’ boy at Frank's Shrimp & Chicken or a couple hot dogs at Joey's, then catching an inning of a Cubs day game on the radio on my way back to the office.
How are you riding out this COVID-19 pandemic?
I'm taking a lot of walks with my dog, listening to music, binge watching some shows and playing video games.
Anything else you want people to know?
I want to stress again how much I love this job, interacting with people in the community and telling their stories.