Chase Purdy joined our newsroom April 6 to cover public safety issues in the Roanoke Valley. Having worked in Waynesboro a few years ago, Chase is already familiar with part of Western Virginia. You can follow him on Twitter @chasepurdy or e-mail him a story idea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
College, major: Hillsdale College, English
Why journalism: I grew up with an overactive imagination and sense of curiosity that, together, seemed to form a natural inclination for writing. Joining my college newspaper, The Collegian, sealed the deal. I like to talk with people and learn about their lives. I relish the opportunity to find the common threads of humanity that connect people — even in the most mundane of circumstances. Everyone has a story, and I’d like to think I have a knack for finding them.
Years in journalism: Three years as a full-time journalist.
Years at The Roanoke Times | roanoke.com: This is my first year in Roanoke.
Other newsrooms where you have worked: My first job was at The News Virginian in Waynesboro, Va., where I worked as a police and courts reporter. In May 2011 I moved to Lakeland, Fla. to serve as a general assignment reporter. Before those stints, I interned as a Pulliam Fellow at The Arizona Republic. I’ve also interned at the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C. and The Toledo Free Press in Ohio.
Proudest journalism accomplishments: Firstly, I consider it an accomplishment in and of itself to be selected and hired as a reporter for The Roanoke Times. This newspaper has a longstanding tradition of journalism excellence, and the chance to be a part of that history makes me feel humbled and proud. Aside from that, I was part of a two-man team to win a first-place American Press Managing Editors Award for work covering the Hispanic population in the Shenandoah Valley.
Journalists you admire and why: Typically, I’ve found much to admire in the newsrooms I’ve joined, journalists so often come in an odd variety of personalities and strong talents. But on a national level, the people I follow on a regular basis include David Segal, Jeff Zeleny, David Carr, and others from The New York Times. I also look to that paper for the latest in videography (a form of journalism I’ve grown to enjoy a good deal) from people like Zena Barakat. Dai Sugano of the San Jose Mercury News also creates amazing video features worth looking into. Then there are the staples, such as Gay Talese, Ira Glass, Hunter S. Thompson and Edna Buchanan, people who’s work left lasting impressions as I’ve grown.
Web sites you visit regularly: I start each morning by glancing through Twitter, Facebook and newspaper front pages from across the country at Newseum.com. I also make my way through the latest on the websites for The New York Times, The Roanoke Times, and the Courier-Journal (in Louisville). Outside of nerdy newspaper items, I follow online updates for the Chicago White Sox.
Favorite books: “The Kingdom and the Power,” by Gay Talese; “The Corpse Had a Familiar Face,” by Edna Buchanan; the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; “The Lord of the Rings,” by J.R.R. Tolkien; and “Mrs. Dalloway,” by Virginia Woolf. I also make it a top priority to read anything and everything by David Sedaris.
Interests outside of work: While my level of expertise has plateaued over the years, I do enjoy juggling. I also like to run (normally 5Ks), try my hand at videography and graphic design, and drive aimlessly through cities and countryside in search of good spots to practice my photography.
Interesting fact about you that few know: Two big fears: mold and aliens.