New graphics

We recently named our morning video and now have the graphics to go along with it.

You can watch all our morning videos on the newspaper’s YouTube channel.

New graphics!

New graphics!

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Swamp Boys

A story I worked on for a few months with photographer Scott McIntyre recently ran in the Naples Daily News. We had the story behind a paywall but I’m posting it now that it’s free.

We followed a kid in a juvenile detention program as he completed his stay and returned to his life on the east coast of Florida. The story looks at how he completed the Swamp Boys program and transitioned into real life as an adult. The story and photos got a lot of play in the paper when it ran one Sunday in January. Enjoy.

Jan. 4, 2015 front page.

Jan. 4, 2015 front page.

Shiny new videos

We’ve made some upgrades in recent weeks to the morning video segment I do. We’ve branded the clip, calling it the Daily Scoop, and moved from filming in the newsroom to filming in our video studio. We’ve also added graphics and a new logo. I think the overall effect is that I look a lot more professional. Plus I got that swanky new hair cut. Watch out TV reporters. I’m comin’ for ya.

SPJ winners

Got word this weekend that a team of Naples Daily News reporters won the breaking news category for our division in the 2014 SPJ Awards.

Our submission involved coverage of former U.S. Congressman Trey Radel’s admission of drug use and the subsequent fallout.

Reporters in our newsroom went to D.C. to follow the Congressman there as well as to his local campaign headquarters and home.

My job in the weeks after was to approach Radel at his treatment facility where he was admitted for drug rehab as the public called for his resignation

Congrats to fellow reporters Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Jacob Carpenter and Eric Staats. Here’s the full list of winners.

Man shoots neighbor

Last week, I wrote four front-page stories about the shooting death of a Naples man following a 10-year feud with his neighbors.

The first story after his death outlined the rising problems between the two families using public records and accounts from others on the street.

The next day, I caught a lucky break when the victim’s daughter told me during a phone interview that the woman who would later be charged in her father’s death had returned to her home after a brief stint in jail. We drove to the scene in time to see the woman Baker Acted into custody. She was later charged in the murder as well.

The next day, the man’s widow broke her silence in a statement and we obtained documents showing she had filed for another restraining order.

All week, I chipped away at a Sunday story looking at what people can do if they’re having serious problems with their neighbors and which area agencies can help.

I’ve covered a few killings in Naples since starting the morning shift, but this has garnered the most interest.

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An experiment

We started a new morning feature at the Naples Daily News. We shoot and edit these quick videos and post them to the web before 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. They offer a glimpse at what staff is working on for the next day’s paper. It’s still in the experimental phase, with lots of changes to content and equipment. In the meantime, I’m thinking about investing in an iron.

Latest clips

I recently spent about eight hours with photographer Dania Maxwell visiting with employees of 24-hour establishments following a rash of armed robberies at Waffle Houses in Lee County.

The employees we talked to recounted the nights they were robbed at gunpoint and talked about how they were scared to return to work. The story ran A1 Sunday above the fold and I had some good feedback about the writing specifically.

Another recent highlight is my story about alligator activity in the county. As the weathe warms up, these reptiles start wandering and calls from scared residents start pouring in.

In other crime news, I’ve written about the arrest of an accused child abuser, a teacher accused of having sex with a student, a low-income RV park that’s making its residents leave, and a woman caught living in a storage unit with a young child.

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Another major award

Our newspaper recently started a monthly award in which staffers from any department are nominated by their peers and vetted by editors before winning cash prizes. I was one of three winners for my work in December, and I won a shiny $100 gift card. Let the shopping begin.

Here are a few headlines that were mentioned as part of my coverage.

1) Two Marco Islanders were each retrieving something from home when they collided in a fatal crash.

2) The father of a man arrested after shooting up a bar told me his son was likely mentally ill. I wrote about how law enforcement tracked him down in another state after he fled.

3) An accused killer and his accomplice were tracked to Wyoming where they were found stranded on the side of the road in a truck with no gas. I reached out to local authorities there and a small town newspaper editor to paint a picture of the area where they were found.

4) This one was a double byline with fellow reporter Jessica Lipscomb. I talked to neighbors of a man who shot another person on their street and admitted the crime to his father the same day.

That’s just a few of the more than 30 December bylines I had. It was a busy month.

Recent highlights

I can’t believe I’m about to wrap up another year at the Naples Daily News. I started in August 2011 and already 2013 is slipping away.

Here are a few recent clips from the last month. Again, we’ve got that paywall, but you’ll get the idea.

1) A brief encounter with U.S. Congressman Trey Radel at his rehab facility the day after local political leaders called for his resigation.

2) A daughter reels from the loss of her 91-year-old mother who was killed in a car crash a block from her home. The other driver is facing charges of reckless driving and vehicular homicide.

3) Friends of a college student jailed on murder charges speak out after a drug deal goes wrong.

4) Wannabe Santa gets jammed in the chimney then sent to jail after trying to break into a Naples home.

5) A Kentucky artist spends three weeks in Big Cypress National Preserve through a residency program.

6) A few vignettes about locals who are part of national statistics that show the popularity of tattoos is increasing.

Recent centerpieces

Here’s a sampling of some weekend work. The first was a Saturday centerpiece for a new series I suggested called Dispatches. It’s an occasional feature the reporting staff will do on relatively small stories in the community. It’s a chance for us to take a more literary approach to our writing. I’m happy with my first piece about a woman who opened a thrift store in a last-ditch effort to stay out of foreclosure.

The next two pieces were live assignments, which I tried to write with a more creative lead. I covered the opening of a community garden and a volunteer day at the local YMCA, which was damaged in a major fire last month. Our paywall won’t let you read those stellar leads, but if you’re curious you can zoom in on the pics!

Saturday A!

Sunday A3

Saturday A3