Hometown: I’m one of a number of newsroom folks from Pittsburgh. (Go, Steelers! Go, Pens! Uh… Go, Bucs of Suckitude!)
College, major: I studied English at Dickinson College, the University of East Anglia and Penn State University.
Why journalism: I joke that I stumbled into journalism after reading a want ad for a news editor and applying on a lark. But looking back, it’s easy to trace a progression from delivering The Pittsburgh Press as a kid to editing the school paper in high school and college to making it a career. I’ve always loved being the first to know something and finding out why something happened, and I’m a sucker for good storytelling in any medium.
Years in journalism: 12.
Years at The Roanoke Times | roanoke.com: One and counting …
Other newsrooms where you have worked: I worked as an editor at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., and as the national editor at The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina.
Proudest journalism accomplishments: On the mornings of Sept. 12, 2001, and Nov. 5, 2008, I arrived at work to find people lined up to buy newspapers that I’d helped produce the night before. That’s a pretty cool feeling.
Journalists you admire and why: One of the things I love about Twitter is that if you follow lots of interesting people, you’ll invariably end up with daily lists of great stories from across the Internet. I’ve discovered countless wonderful journalists this way, and my list seems to grow every day. I’ll read just about anything my former Observer colleague Tommy Tomlinson (@tommytomlinson) writes. I’ve also recently latched on to the work of a trio of amazing Tampa Bay Times writers, Ben Montgomery (@gangrey), Michael Kruse (@michaelkruse) and Lane DeGregory. I also seek out Hank Stuever and Steve Lopez and David Carr and Dana Priest and Leonard Pitts. And, for my money, the late Anthony Shadid was one of the best foreign correspondents in recent memory.
I’m also a magazine junkie and love reading longer works by Joe Posnanski (@jposnanski), Chris Jones (@mysecondempire), Michael Lewis, Wright Thompson (@wrightthompson), Gary Smith, John McPhee, Charlie Pierce, Tad Friend, Atul Gawande, Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Paterniti – well, I could go on and on but I’ll stop there. And some of the best storytelling, I think, is being done right now on the radio, with shows such as “This American Life,” “Radiolab” and “The Moth.”
I’ve been very fortunate to work with some great editors, too, including Cheryl Carpenter, John Arwood, Roger Mikeal, Patrick Scott, Reid Creager and Mike Gordon. And I’ve long admired editing standard-bearers such as Gene Foreman, John McIntyre (@johnemcintyre), Roy Peter Clark, John Walcott, Roy Gutman and Bill Walsh (@theslot).
Web sites you visit regularly: NYT.com sets the bar when it comes to online journalism. Grantland.com always seems to have something good to read. The New York Times’ Lens blog always has great photojournalism eye candy. Charles Apple’s blog is a must-read, especially for copy editors and visual journalists. And one of my favorite blogs lately is People I Want to Punch in the Throat; I think the title just about sums it up.
Favorite books: “Catch-22,” “The Road,” “The Dog of the South,” “White Noise,” “Ulysses,” etc. And I was excited to learn upon moving to Roanoke that David Baldacci has a home on Smith Mountain Lake; I’m a sucker for his Camel Club books. I’ve just started the late Harry Crews’ memoir.
Interests outside of work: I’m a band geek, playing euphonium, trombone and a handful of other instruments. A brood of animals at home also keeps me busy.
Interesting fact about you that few know: A lifetime ago, I performed with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps from Canton, Ohio.