Enterprise and Feature Pieces
"Professional writers are just amateurs who didn't quit."
The best writers, in my view, do exactly what Richard Bach did with this line: They take a truth or a story that people have heard since the beginning of time — like "hard work and perseverance leads to success" — and they say it in a way that makes it unique. That makes people think. That makes this so-obvious, so-ordinary truth memorable.
This same idea applies to storytelling, I think. The best stories can't be replicated, even if its trope, or its message, can be. I carry this idea through every piece I do. I try to, at least — from my feature stories, to my news stories, to my columns.
Anyway, thanks for reading.
In August 2019, I accepted the role as The (Rock Hill) Herald's sports reporter/editor. As the only full-time sportswriter in the office, I'm tasked with (1) managing stringers for high school sports/Winthrop University sports coverage, (2) organizing all of the content that goes in both the online and daily print publications and (3) writing features, gamers, news stories and really any and everything that intersects with sports in the area — all to ensure that this news outlet remains an integral part of the Tri-County community.
In the summer prior to taking my current station at The Herald, I was a sports intern for The News and Observer, the largest daily paper in North Carolina. There, I was fortunate to write nearly 30 stories on a variety of topics and people — many of which had themes or news pegs that dealt with life outside of sports: whether it be about a UNC football player opening up about his eight-year struggle with depression; or about a U.S. Paralympian from Durham who runs to inspire the next generation of adaptive athletes; or about a fencing coach who, after 52 years at the program's helm, decided he was ready to retire.
I also have experience reporting outside of sports and with other publications. As part of one of my classes for Professor John Robinson, I wrote for a site called UNC Media Hub in the spring semester of my senior year of college. I had several of my stories published by other local media outlets, including The N&O and ABC11.
Before that, I wrote news, enterprise/investigative pieces and sports for UNC's campus community newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. Among the nearly 100 clips I churned out at the publication, I reported on an instance of blatant administrative inaction; I chronicled a chapter of one of the most special rivalries in sports (UNC vs. Duke men's basketball); and I wrote about how the monuments on UNC's campus point to the University's legacy of slavery.
These stories — and more — are enclosed below.
In May 2019, I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science. I also minored in philosophy, politics and economics (otherwise known as "PPE").
The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald; The (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer; UNC Media Hub; The Daily Tar Heel; Carolina Political Review; Durham VOICE; and The Washington Times.
Please feel free to contact me at any time. And again, thanks for reading.
Email: [email protected]
Enterprise and Feature Pieces
For the better part of eight years, North Carolina Tar Heels football player Jake Lawler had battled with his depression alone. Now, though, using writing as a catharsis, he's taking a different path in hopes for a new life.
On the morning of Aug. 9, Raseac Myles sat in the South Pointe gym with a blank stare. He heard the hum of the air conditioner and the clicking sound as the double doors opened and closed. Every foot step echoed. Some of Myles' football teammates, spread along the red and grey bleachers, were crying.
Fitzhugh Brundage, a history professor at UNC, said he's perceived that the University has been playing catch-up for the past six years. "I think this catch-up is partially tied to a risk-averse administration and a political environment in which the chancellor and others must be very concerned that the University will be punished by the state legislature," Brundage said.
For years, apathy consumed the Andrew Jackson High School football program. But now, with the help of a head coach Todd Shigley and a supportive small town in Lancaster County, SC, this team is returning as the pride of Kershaw.
Story by: Alex Zietlow Video by: Kathryn Macomson Photos by: Callie Williams CARY, North Carolina - Laid out on the fully-reclined driver seat in his 2003 Honda Accord, R.J. Singh took off his sunglasses and rubbed his eyes awake. He was somewhere in Indianapolis at a truck stop, a setting he had grown comfortable with over the...
He knew that the slave legacy wouldn't dissolve with the statue's removal. He knows the solution still needs direction. But on Tuesday afternoon, senior Nicho Stevens walked up to the remains of Silent Sam by himself.
U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson poses for a portrait in Durham, NC on June 7, 2019. [email protected] When Desmond Jackson charged through the finish line at the 2014 North Carolina indoor track and field state championships, he made history. He'd just run 55 meters at a pace he doesn't care to remember now.
Josh Asiko remembers the win. He recalls making his way over the arduous hill on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the only sliver of road that mattered in Chapel Hill that Monday night. One friend had his arm linked around him.
Minutes after he'd broken from his team's final huddle at football practice, head coach Brian Lane was in the Clover High School cafeteria, fiddling with a remote that operated the room's projector. It was a Monday evening, and the coach was leading a weekly meeting with 20-or-so parents and members of the community.
PANAMA CITY, PANAMÁ - Matt Hedspeth couldn't ignore what was coming over him. For most of his drive, Hedspeth's mind was as clear as the cloudless night he was spending in his white Ford Expedition.
If it's easy to explain, it's not love. *** The sun sank low in the sky. The once-luscious grass lay tattered. Jane and Robert Kelly Sr. had been playing two-on-two soccer with their 10- and 11-year-old sons for hours when they finally made the joint executive decision to call it quits.
Just like the skin of the store's customers, the walls inside 5th Fare - one of Durham's newest urban galleries and tattoo parlors - are dressed up with artwork. There's an outlined sketch of a bull with city landmarks filling the animal's body. There are drawings of sheet music with abstract, unidentified monsters in the foreground.
When he and his family road tripped long distances, Will Young wrote songs. In some ways, the songs a 13-year-old Young wrote while curled in the back seat of his father's 2008 Chevy Tahoe differ from the raps he writes now. Back then, his lyrics weren't meant to accompany a kick drum, snare or melody.
Not everyone saw the success of UNC women's tennis coach, Brian Kalbas, coming. Since starting at North Carolina in 2003, he's won three ITA National Indoor championships, added another national coach of the year honor and has won four ACC Championships - including three in a row the last three years.
Graduate students have been at the helm of campus protests at UNC since the 1960s, from George Vlasits, an anti-Vietnam War protester in the 1960s, to Maya Little, a current UNC graduate student of history who faced Honor Court and criminal charges for staining Silent Sam with red ink and her own blood last April.
Canady's worked countless hours this week because she's had to. Hurricane Florence brought Kinston, a town that feels so much smaller than its 21,000 population, severe and persistent rain and wind. Today, though, she plans to leave work early.
Her toes pointed, a smile on her face, Ally Grooms tosses and catches a spinning bar that seamlessly connects the choreography she'd perfected months ago. It's a Wednesday afternoon, and the sun is beating down on the Clover High School auxiliary field that the school's color guard squad practices on.
His black headband on, his racquet gently spinning in his hands, Brent Walters sits quietly on a bench facing the center racquetball court on the top floor of the Alexander YMCA.
Clover hosted Dorman November 22, 2019. Clover's Jaylin Lane runs for a touchdown after catching a pass from Clover quarterback Gabe Carroll. Special to The Herald Head coach Brian Lane burned his final timeout and walked out to his team. His laminated playbook was hanging from his waistband, his headset around his neck.
North Carolina football fans - those who saw the injury-plagued, close-but-not-quite 2017 Tar Heel squad limp through its worst season in the Fedora era last year - thought they knew what to expect from their head coach in the first media event prior to the 2017-18 football season.
Near the end of a contest that was largely riddled with mistakes - a broken play fixed everything.
But it was the senior forward - someone who didn't solely lead in any statistical category in the Thursday night contest - who had the ball in his hands during the two most critical stretches of the game.
"He's a competitor and he's a great player," senior wide receiver Austin Proehl said. "He came in early and he's learned the offense and been competing ever since." Carter - who is actually a 5-foot-9, 195-pound running back, despite what his virtual career suggests - tallied 94 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries in North Carolina's opening game loss to California on Saturday.
When preparing to stage the FIRST Global Challenge for teams of teenagers from around the globe, Joe Sestak, the nonprofit's president, estimated in December that up to a third of the entries could face problems getting visas to come to the U.S. Seven months later, 99 percent of the countries have been granted travel visas.
Woody Durham, who had served as the radio play-by-play commentator for North Carolina athletics for 40 years, died on Wednesday morning in Chapel Hill. He was 76 years old. The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association will honor Durham this week at the men's basketball ACC Tournament in Brooklyn
With two minutes left in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's contest between Northwestern and South Pointe, it seemed as if the game was ready to burst at its proverbial seams. A big play was going to come. One had to.
Sevgi Akarcesme, former editor-in-chief of the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman, says her life can be divided into two parts: before and after July 15, 2016.
Nike doesn't sell shoes or shirts or socks in its advertisements anymore. It doesn't need to. Today, the multi-billion dollar athletic apparel company sells dreams. It reminds its consumers that athletes, no matter what they've accomplished, are still people.
So when he took off his jersey in the silent, somber locker room after his disappointing finale as a Tar Heel, I hope he found solace in the fact that his name will hang in the Smith Center rafters after he's gone - that his legacy will be immortalized and appreciated even after he's no longer diving for loose balls; playing through sprained ankles; and shouldering the blame when his team falls and sidestepping the spotlight when his team reaches ultimate glory.
But these shortcomings aren't what stick with me now, as I'm trying to write my last piece for this special publication. Instead, similar to me summing up my entire college experience, what comes immediately to mind are answers too perfect and too easy for them to be fully true.