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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- I wrote about nine ways the government shutdown of 2013 affected students, including financial aid and G.I. Bill benefits.
- 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.
- The Great Plains Art Museum was renovated in hopes of attracting more visitors and is now showing off its new design.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, came to my campus to talk about Iran, democracy and freedom of speech.
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 Chicago Tribune’s Harsh Treatment project in 2014. To plan the social media strategy that would give credit to this years-long work, I met with reporters, editors, videographers, photographers, and graphic designers to learn what was being created and reported.
From there, I strategized the best way to post it to social media while taking analytics, audience, and specific platforms into consideration. I wrote the copy for social media posts, made an editorial calendar, and communicated with multiple departments to ensure accurate storytelling.