Sunday, June 13, 2010

Journalist starts his new life

I've known about June 14 for two weeks now.

At first I couldn't wait for the day to come. But as the gap shortened between then and tomorrow, I've been nervous.

You see, I was hired by the Sandusky Register prior to Memorial Day. The daily newspaper is an independently owned publication and serves the Sandusky, Ohio, area. My beat, or the area I will cover, is Erie County.

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I will be forever grateful the powers to be at the Register chose me over many qualified candidates, including a reporter who has four years experience at a daily newspaper in Indiana.

I've always been a dedicated reporter. Whether it's been writing for three-plus years at The BG News, freelancing at Fremont-News Messenger/Port Clinton News Herald, interning at the Rochester Insider or writing for other publications such as the Toledo Free Press or Sport Informant, I've always maintained my integrity and given 100 percent.

I've never been more nervous, and possibly anxious, to begin this job. I can't fail. I told my employers that I would work hard and be willing to put the time in necessary to become a great journalist. I don't believe I am at the moment.

So I'm going to do what I have done in the past: Work hard, get the facts right and always willing to learn and listen from colleagues and superiors.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tornado terrorizes Lake Township; Community unites

The tiny community of Lake Township suffered a humongous blow Saturday night.

An F4 tornado gusted threw areas just south of Toledo, Ohio. The tornado, which reached speeds of 170 mph, destroyed Lake High School, decimated multiple homes, killed five people and devastated a community consisting of approximately 28,000 residents.

Lake Township has been reeling since.

In the days following the tornadoes, moods have shifted from sorrow and remorse to being efficient. Neighbors, police, volunteer organization, friends and family are helping one another pick up the debris and find personal belongings.

Susan Bradfield (pictured above, far left) is one of many people whose house was obliterated in the storm. Along with her husband, son and dog, she survived the disaster by staying in her basement. Even though no one died in the neighborhood, her house was a casualty in the storm.

"Everything was lost," Bradfield said. "It's going to take a while, but we have to start all over again. We have nothing."

Sharon Cundiff has lived in Lake Township her entire life. Glass surrounds her floors from the windows shattering from the winds. Her house is "structurally unsafe" to live in because it was lifted from the original foundation.

She said this is, by far, the worst event ever occurring in the area.

"I never want to see it again," Cundiff said.

The community came together Tuesday night for Lake High School's graduation ceremony. Speakers didn't ignore the tornadoes and salvaged the night with emotional speeches.

Said Dustin Fincher, senior speaker: "The events of June 5th have devastated the school and torn up homes and businesses, but it has also strengthened the community. It's truly heartwarming to see so many people so ready and motivated to help when they can. There is a lot of hard work to be done, but after seeing the dedication and effort to clean up, I believe we can all rest assure work will get done."

Others backed up Fincher's sentiments.

"Lake High School will rise again and our pride will move on," said Margene Akenberger, vice president for Lake Local Schools Board of Education. "We can be knocked down, but we won't be defeated."

The community is also contributing any way it can.

Local restaurants are donating 15 percent of their total take on Wednesday for disaster relief. Organization such as The United Way, The Salvation Army, the American Red Cross,
ISOH/Impact in Waterville, Ohio, and the Wood County Emergency Managemnt Agency are also volunteering their services. Any donations are welcomed and appreciated.

Check Sunday's Toledo Free Press for extensive coverage of the tornado, including how neighbor hods are coping with the disaster and how the community is progressing from this disaster.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm ready for "Rounders"

One of my favorite movies reloaded its chips and is ready to ante up again.

"Rounders", a movie chronicling the lives of underground poker players and venues, "plans" to have another installment, according to screenwriters Brian Koppelman and David Levien.

Actors/poker players Matt Damon and Edward Norton would also return if the story is accurate.

Not widely popular shortly after its 1998 release, "Rounders" is a cult-type movie appeasing a certain fan base. But after 2003's poker boom and the widely popular World Series of Poker on national television, poker players look to "Rounders" as the Messiah of poker movies.

"Rounders" is so popular because the movie depicts real world poker situations much more accurately than other movies. Damon and Norton travel from Binghamton, N.Y to play a club filled with "good ol' boys" to starting a personal Cold War on the green felt with KGB.

Damon, who portrays signs of addiction, shows what a gambler stands to lose. He feuds with Norton, his best friend, almost breaks up with his girlfriend and almost strains the relationship between him and his favorite professor, who pays his buy-in for the final game.

Hopefully, fans get a sequel. But we'll always have the original.

Here is one of my favorite scenes from the end of the movie starring Damon and John Malkovich.

*Spoiler Warning*

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Where Roy Oswalt can land

Roy OswaltImage by imovermyhead via Flickr

At Sport Informant, I wrote a story detailing the difficulties the Houston Astros will have trading their No. 1 pitcher, Roy Oswalt, this season.

Oswalt's contract (five-years, $73 million) and his back problems dating back to last season will give the National League worst Astros (15-27) difficulties in trading the 10-year veteran.

The 32-year-old's no-trade clause -- which means the Astros cannot be traded unless he approves of the deal -- limits where he can go. Oswalt said he will only play for a winner, eliminating about half the teams in Major League Baseball.

Oswalt said he will pitch for three teams: The Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves. Yet these three teams seem like unrealistic destinations for Oswalt (see my story for the reason).

But if he is willing, there are other teams that will gladly accept his services.

Here are my top five destinations for the best possible situation three-time All-Star can find himself in:

View Where Roy Oswalt can pitch in a larger map

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Where I write

I love writing and covering as many different topics as possible. I don't want to be just a news writer, or sports reporter, at the moment. I want to explore as many different mediums as possible.

Not only does it keep my interest, but I think it helps me as a writer.

Here is a look at where I currently write and the publications I used to.

Where I currently write:
Fremont News-Messenger/Port Clinton News Herald, (correspondent, began in March 2010)
I interviewed for a position with the Gannett-owned newspapers in March. I cover mostly event-based meetings and features. I already had one centerpiece on an Easter Egg Roll at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.

Toledo Free Press, (reporter, began in May 2010):
I was recently hired as a sports writer in charge of everything Bowling Green and Bowling Green State University regarding sports.

Sport Informant, (reporter, began in November 2008):
An online, amateur publication, I cover Major League Baseball.

I just wrote this story on why Roy Oswalt will be hard to trade and the phenom that is Stephen Strasburg

Where I previously wrote:
The BG News (reporter, special sections editor, senior reporter August 2007-May 2010):
My home for the latter part of my collegiate career, this was a great place in both honing my journalism skills and meeting some people inspiring me to become a better overall person.

Even though our archives only date back to 2010, some of my best stories are listed, including a story on BGSU gold-medalist Dave Wottle, a story investigating black baseball players and a tribute story to former student Mark Gillfillan.

The Obsidian (columnist, copy editor August 2008-May 2010):
BGSU's cultural diversity publication taught me to include myself in topics I would normally not. I wrote stories on Cesar Chavez, a gun shooting in Oakland that pitted races against one another and the demise of Tiger Woods.

Northwest Ohio Comedy (creator, January-May 2010):
This was the first blog site I created. It helped me get familiar with interactivity and posting in the blogosphere.

The Rochester Insider (reporter, May-August 2008):

Like an entertainment or city paper, I would do smaller features. My favorites included finding the most handicap-accessible night clubs in the city and a feature on various Buffalo Bills players and what music they listen to prior to games.