The Chicago Tribune

I only had one story byline at the Tribune, but I’m really proud of this personal essay.

I experienced some horrible online trolling for simply talking about STIs. And once I opened up about having herpes, I was called awful names and told to kill myself. I refuse to let negativity control my life, so I wrote my story. The Tribune published it.

I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback my story received. Messages flooded my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. I got more than a dozen emails. People wrote to encourage me and to tell me their stories. Some asked for advice. Some just needed someone to hear them.

This article’s impact on my life has been incredible. Not only have I met and connected with people all over the world, I’ve been interviewed for a podcast and articles for SELF and Revelist.

I opened up about my life to help people. Our society doesn’t talk about things like herpes. My goal was to reach people and let them know they’re not alone, and the feedback was more than I had hoped for.

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The Daily Nebraskan

I worked as the health and housing beat reporter for the Daily Nebraskan during my time at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. I went to weekly residence hall meetings and frequented the campus clinic. Both the Affordable Care Act rollout and the 2013 government shutdown happened during my time as a reporter, so I wrote quite a bit about those events.

Here are some of my favorite stories (The headlines are hyperlinked):

  • The Affordable Care Act is a complicated piece of legislation, and many Nebraskans, especially students, weren’t sure what to expect. I explained in this front page story.

ACA

  •  The Centers for Disease Control were furloughed by the federal shutdown just as flu season started, so I talked to University Health Center officials about how it would affect flu shots.

flu shot

 

  •  I wrote about nine ways the government shutdown of 2013 affected students, including financial aid and G.I. Bill benefits.

9 ways

  • UNL’s Residence Hall Association donated $1,000 to an event that raised money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The event’s organizers were particularly moved by the decision.

dance

  • The Great Plains Art Museum was renovated in hopes of attracting more visitors and is now showing off its new design.

museum

  • As part of my health beat, I looked into electronic cigarettes. While they may be trendy in the United States, a 2013 French study claimed they aren’t as safe as people thought.

e-cig

  • Don Wilhite, a climatologist and professor in University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources, was named a fellow in the American Meteorological Society and asked to head committees for an international water program.

prof

  •   Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, came to my campus to talk about Iran, democracy and freedom of speech.

ebadi

Harsh Treatment: a Chicago Tribune investigative project

 

Harsh Treatment: “Residential treatment centers are supposed to provide a safe, healing environment for young state wards and disadvantaged children. But a Chicago Tribune investigation finds many are harmed instead.”

I worked on the Harsh Treatment project by the Chicago Tribune in 2014. I met with reporters, editors, videographers, photographers and graphic designers to learn what was being created and reported on, then I helped them figure out the best way to post it to social media.


The day before the project was published, we previewed it on social media with a video 


After working with various teams and departments, I helped them craft social posts for this large project.


This investigation was well done, and most importantly, it was full of stories that needed to be told.  I proudly promoted the project through my personal accounts.


For the graphic essays, I thought Tumblr would be the perfect platform to highlight the art and creative storytelling.


This issue received a lot of attention on city, state and federal levels. State officials started to revamp Illinois’ child welfare system, including the closure of a Rock River, a problematic facility mentioned in the stories. We made sure to post follow-ups and keep our readers updated.

live tweeting.

Social media is all about being social, and live tweeting is the ultimate way to join the conversation. I do this with local, national and international events by tweeting and retweeting in real time.

To capture these moments, I curate my live-tweeting spurts into Twitter Moments.

One of my most memorable live-tweeting events was the night Darren Wilson was not indicted for fatally shooting Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. While documenting the protest through tweets, Vines, and photos, I walked about seven miles from the South Side of Chicago, down Lake Shore Drive, and into downtown.

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Chicago protests the Ferguson decision (with images, tweets) · wittenkitten

A protest against police violence turned into a march after Darren Wilson was not indicted in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, on Nov. 24, 2014. The protest started at the Chicago Police Headquarters and moved to downtown Chicago.

See more of my Twitter Moments.