As a reporter and editor at the Forward, a national Jewish news organization, I call on my Colorado College education constantly, whether I’m seeking out a single human story in an immense tragedy like Newtown or if I’m on deadline editing a dozen stories for Forward’s annual education section.
First, there are the obvious ways: I got involved with
The Cipher during my freshman year and stuck with it until graduation. I can think of no better training ground for learning to execute big, ambitious stories than CC’s independent magazine. Now that I’m in my first editing job, I think often about those late night production sessions with an inventive team that strove for — and many times achieved — journalistic and design excellence. The journalism minor taught me the value of slowing down and really examining my craft. Alan Prendergast ’78, my advisor in the minor and a mentor of mine, introduced me to the work of great American nonfiction writers like Truman Capote and Janet Malcolm and taught me the basics of long-form narrative journalism.
There are also more subtle ways that CC shaped me as a writer. Even though journalists get a bad rap for being overconfident and pushy, I think the best reporters are those who approach stories with humility and an open mind. At CC, I learned not to make assumptions, to examine every angle before coming to my own conclusions — or maybe leave the question open. The Block Plan allowed me the space and time to really grapple with the course material. It also trained me to research while traveling, a skill that I’ve used reporting stories in Utah, New York, and the Palestinian Territories. Juan Lindau and Timothy Fuller in the political science department taught me never to cut intellectual corners. And Alberto Hernandez Lemus ’87 in the philosophy department showed me the whimsy of scholarly pursuit.
After CC, I got my first reporting job at the Colorado Springs Independent and then went on to work at alternative newsweeklies and political news sites in Denver and Dallas. I received a master’s degree in political journalism from Columbia University in 2011. Now that I’m in New York, a city practically teeming with journalists, it’s always a challenge to find unique and compelling stories. I will forever credit my time at CC with teaching me how to look for the untold story, or, as in the case with Newtown, to look at the story everyone else is telling in a new way.