To whom it may concern-
I won’t wrestle a lion to get a story, but I have taken on a feral pig. The pig, the pet of a Myakka, Fla., man I was interviewing, snatched my audio recorder. After I pried it away, I discovered I’d lost three hours of the man’s anecdotes about living off the land, hunting alligators and sewing fishing nets by hand. I still managed to get a decent feature out of the experience.
At age five, I wrote my first book about my dog, “Lady.” Later I was selected to attend a seminar for young writers where I met illustrator Steven Kellogg. After asking for his autograph, I decided I wanted to be the one autographing books. All through grade school, I wrote essays, short stories and began a novel. Last year, I published my first book, a history of Palmetto, Fla. At its launch party, I sold nearly 300 copies.
I started reporting for the Lance when I was enrolled in Manatee Community College, now State College of Florida. In 2002, I won first place for picture story at the Florida Community College Press Association conference. I transferred to Santé Fe Community College and started work at the Independent Florida Alligator, where I discovered the buzz that comes from breaking news and being in the know.
After getting my associate of arts degree, I stepped away from journalism for a while to sail the Caribbean. My reporting instincts resurfaced, and I began submitting freelance articles to magazines, including All at Sea, Crewlife, Caribbean Compass and Latitudes & Attitudes. I wrote about world-renowned regattas, reported on pirate attacks, and captured the essence of life on the water.
After three seasons of island hopping, I enrolled at USF St. Petersburg and took an internship at the Bradenton Times. During my first week on the job, I wrote a column as a tribute to my mom on Mother’s Day. That was the birth of my weekly column, Sunday Favorites. The online publication hired me part time to cover local government and the school board and produce stories of community interest.
As a local, I am familiar with city and county officials and have experience in reporting on government news. My current position as public information officer for the Palmetto Community Redevelopment Agency has given me an insider’s understanding of the workings of government.
I figure if I’m willing to take on a feral pig — even if it’s just a pet — you could count on me to nail down other stories. I’m not going to let obstacles deter me. I’ve literally dug through artifacts to uncover historical details. I’ve interviewed grieving families to gather material for obits. I’ve scoured public records to verify minute facts.
People of my generation seldom seek a career in newspaper journalism. I do find newspapers relevant and essential assets to our communities. I hope I have a chance to meet you and convince you that I have the credentials, values and experience to make a notable contribution to your publication and the community it serves.