I haven’t been posting much lately. There’s a lot of reasons for that. I’ve been very busy, in and out of the newsroom. I’ve been kind of blocked creatively, which is a complete shame. There are so many things I want to share, but don’t know the proper way to do so.
Let’s start from the beginning: the two days after my last post were two of the best days of my life.
I worked on a story about a man named Chris Martin. Chris is muslim, and a proud navy vet. He traveled from Riverside, CA to Inverness, FL to protest a gun store owner’s decision to declare his business, Florida Gun Supply, a "muslim-free zone." I’m linking WUFT’S web story about the experience here. You should read it not only because the story itself is interesting, but our web reporter Komal Junejo poured her soul into this piece.
The story itself was interesting, but what happened after was astonishing. The next day, I worked on a radio story about Chris. I was disappointed, because it wasn’t what I had wanted. The gun store’s employees wouldn’t talk to me, and neither would any lawyers. My story was one-sided and hollow. It wasn’t what I wanted. Then the Council on American-Islamic Relations - Florida filed a lawsuit against Florida Gun Supply. I made calls, and completed a short story about the lawsuit itself.
My news manager monitored me throughout the hour, and I lightly suggested after one interview that we should tip off NPR. I’m so lucky to work with news managers who believe in their students, and encourage them to work as hard as they possibly can. Because of my news manager’s message to NPR News, my story aired during the NPR Newshour. It’s something I could have never imagined just last month. I’m so grateful for the opportunity that Ryan Vasquez provided me that day, and the opportunities my news managers give me every day. Thousands of people listened to the story… It’s linked in my portfolio. I received messages from people throughout the country about a story that was just a newsbrief. To be on NPR at 21 is rare, but it’s not like my listeners knew my age.
… And I’ve had other great stories and opportunities since then. I gained a huge following over the last few days covering the University’s removal of Bert, a 200-year-old bluff oak tree. I’ve received messages from listeners in the area saying they like hearing my voice. I’ve gained at least five slightly creepy fans.
There’s so many stories I want to tell all of you, but there’s not time to do it. I’m so grateful for everyone’s support: whether it’s through kind e-mails, text messages with gifs of pugs, unwanted hugs, and even cookie deliveries.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening. Thank you for watching. Thank you for liking, and retweeting. Without you, I don’t know where I’d be.