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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 SubscribePrairie.com or through any of our other 14 newspapers.
What do you do at 22nd Century Media?
I'm the assistant editor of The Lockport Legend and The Homer Horizon. I find stories, lay out the paper, report and photograph stories and edit our content.
What does your job at 22nd Century Media mean to you?
It's a privilege to be able to be a journalist in small communities, where decisions made by local officials have the most immediate and direct impact, where community means something. To be out in the communities we serve every day, interacting with people of all stripes, it doesn't feel like work at all; it feels like a duty.
What is the most memorable story you've written during your time here?
My most memorable story was about a biker club in Lockport that rallied around one of its members who was diagnosed with ALS. The bikers in the club more or less resembled the stereotypes of what bikers look like — big beards, patched-up leather vests. But beneath their gruff exteriors, their hearts shone bright.
What have you learned about the community you cover that you otherwise might not have known?
The people of Homer Glen are extremely political. I have never seen a small town with such interest in what their Village and Township government are doing — and if they don't like something, they definitely don't bite their tongue.
What do you like to do for fun when you're not working?
I enjoy sampling Chicago's restaurants and bars, playing basketball and going to White Sox games.
What's one thing even your co-workers probably don't know about you?
After I graduated from high school, I moved to Colorado and worked for a company that collects and produces colostrum, the specific type of nutrient-rich milk cows produce for a short period after giving birth to a calf. Occasionally, at one of the farms on my regular route, I would play soccer with the farmhands on a pitch constructed out of hay bales.
What is your perfect work lunch situation?
Chinese food leftovers. Beef and broccoli always tastes better the next day.
How are you riding out this COVID-19 pandemic?
Hanging out with my friends the only way we can — virtually, on Xbox.