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“The People behind the Papers” is a Q&A series featuring the employees of 22nd Century Media who play an integral role in producing 15 community newspapers. The project is designed to give readers an inside look at the personalities that drive the journalism you have read weekly in print and daily on our websites. To support the work we do, please consider subscribing at SubscribePrairie.com or through any of our other 14 newspapers.
What do you do at 22nd Century Media?
I am the editor of The New Lenox Patriot. I plan most of the content for our News/Life & Arts sections, whether it is myself writing the story or a freelancer I assigned, or submitted content from local organizations.
What does your job at 22nd Century Media mean to you?
It means everything to me. I am born and raised in New Lenox. I’ve been in the paper as a high school athlete and student. So, to become the editor of that paper and work in my hometown, I can’t put into words.
What is the most memorable story you've written during your time here?
This is tough. I have written many stories I’m proud of, but I think the one I enjoyed the most was about the man in the yellow chair. A retired train mechanic who has a yellow chair next to the tracks that receives a wild amount of attention on social media. I was able to tell the town the story and that meant a lot to me.
What have you learned about the community you cover that you otherwise might not have known?
Having grown up here, I knew the gist of a lot of things. But having that “in” has allowed me to meet so many interesting people and put me in situations I wouldn’t have walked into on any other day.
What do you like to do for fun when you're not working?
Oh, man. If I’m not working. I’m probably just sitting in my bed playing guitar, waiting to get back to work. It can be a ’round the clock job, but I love it —most of the time.
What's one thing even your co-workers probably don't know about you?
Not a whole lot to know, but if there’s something that makes me me, I’ve seen 24 Dave Matthews Band concerts since 2012.
What is your perfect work lunch situation?
I go to Joey’s all the time. Quick, easy, close to the office and great food.
How are you riding out this COVID-19 pandemic?
Back up to what I do when I’m not working. Lots more guitar and learning more songs. Dave Matthews, of course.
Anything else you want people to know?
Always support local journalism, wherever you are. They’re the ones who care the most about that little town you live in. Not a knock to the big papers, but they’re not coming to that community-filled park district, library, annual hometown event. But your hometown paper will be — just as The Patriot is.