How did you first get into journalism and writing?
I first got into writing in college. I wrote for my student newspaper The Aquinas at the University of Scranton. And then my senior year I was a news editor. I loved it. I knew this was a career path that I wanted to take.
What is your approach to journalism? Why do you write and what do you hope to accomplish with your articles?
My approach is to write meaningful content. I write to hopefully make an impact—maybe some readers will learn about a healthcare change or funding available through my story.
For example, I wrote a story for Next Avenue which was on how seniors may need to reapply for Medicaid or they will risk losing coverage. During the pandemic, I wrote Coronavirus news and solutions journalism stories for Generocity. And I really felt like that was important work.
For Metro, I wrote about a mother receiving a kidney transplant years after her daughter donated. This story was special to me because my father received a heart transplant in 1991.
What do you think are the most important issues that we face today, and why?
Locally, there are so many issues with no clear-cut solution: gun violence, homelessness, the underfunding of the city school district. These issues affect the quality of life of all city residents.
Which publications and journalists do you follow?
I read the Sunday Inquirer and Philly Magazine. I am a fan of Trudy Rubin and Helen Ubinas’s Inquirer stories. Ernest Owens from Philly Mag is so prolific! I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with him at local events. Jeremy Diamond’s on the ground reporting for CNN is just amazing. The coverage of the war in Israel is heartbreaking.
Why is it important for people to support independent media outlets like the Bucks County Beacon?
It is important to support the Bucks County Beacon because this outlet reports stories that other local media outlets can’t or don’t cover, especially the growing threat of right-wing extremism to our schools and threats to our democracy.
Many outlets are folding. Some local ones have gone away like Philly Weekly. Also, a lot of sites pay lower rates than in prior years. Personally, I had to stop writing for at least two sites because the rate was not enough, and the editors told me they could not go higher. It’s really mind boggling because you think of what the executives of these organizations are likely paid, and they can’t afford to pay contributing writers a decent rate.
There’s a luxury publication in Philadelphia that does not pay outside writers. They expect them to write for free! I guess some do to get the byline or exposure. The outlet has these lavish events throughout the year, and I laugh when I see the society photos. Why does an affluent executive not pay his writers?
You can’t produce quality work for peanuts. If you can make more money driving an Uber, that’s a problem. Now, more is expected of freelancers. The deadlines are tighter, the pay is often less. It’s wise for independent writers to walk away from these jobs.