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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 am the editor of The Highland Park Landmark newspaper, so I edit the stories that go into the paper and the captions that go along with the photos, but I also assign out stories, edit press releases, take photos, translate some stories into Spanish and write, a lot.
What does your job at 22nd Century Media mean to you?
My job means the world to me. Freelancing for the paper I am now an editor for was my first job after I graduated from DePaul University. I freelanced for a year before moving abroad for another year. Three days after I came back home from South America, I interviewed for the editor position. This job has not only been a job for me, but it's taught me how to be a responsible adult after graduating from college. I feel like this job taught me how to grow up, in a way. I love connecting with the community about stories that matter to them, and I work alongside the best people in the world. We are all passionate about bringing important stories to our communities.
What is the most memorable story you've written during your time here?
One of my favorite stories was when I spoke with Highland Park native Kevin Clark, who was one of the stars of the movie "School of Rock." The movie is one of my favorites of all time, I can quote just about every word, and I think it was the longest interview I've ever had because I couldn't stop asking Kevin about his experience working on it.
What have you learned about the community you cover that you otherwise might not have known?
I learned what it is to be a part of a community that truly cares. Growing up in northern Lake County, I didn't even know my hometown had a village council that regularly met. Residents of Highland Park and Highwood are invested in their communities in every way. It was astonishing to me when I first started as a freelancer, just out of college, seeing the passionate turnout at City Council meetings in Highland Park.
What do you like to do for fun when you're not working?
My mind is almost always on the job, but when I can distract it for a little bit I love traveling, watching movies, writing creatively, going to concerts or destroying the competition at trivia in Chicago.
What's one thing even your co-workers probably don't know about you?
I've spent a year of my life in Hawaii.
What is your perfect work lunch situation?
Going to La Plancha Loca to get three vegetarian chorizo tacos or getting the tofu stir-fried egg noodle from Pho Nam Bac with all of my friends in the office.
How are you riding out this COVID-19 pandemic?
I've been dreaming about the vacations I will take once this is up (Morocco! Greece!), reading every book in my house and watching "The Lord of the Rings" movies with my brother.