It’s just as well that I didn’t budget time for non 9-5 articles this month, because covering the Thomas Fire for the Ventura County Star has taken up most of my energy. I’d like to say that it’s been a trying few weeks for the newsroom — which is true — but it hardly compares to the trauma that county residents who have been displaced are going through.
I’d hesitate to call this a “good” journalism experience for me personally because that just sounds insensitive. Still, it can sometimes be hard to feel like anything I do in the industry matters, do I ever make a positive difference, nihilism and so on.
When something terrible like the Thomas Fire happens, I can at least say it feels good to be able to spotlight individuals and organizations that are genuinely trying to create positive change in response to the tragedy. I was briefly interviewed by a Santa Barbara radio station due to my work so I’d like to think I’m helping and making a difference in some small way.
Looking back, I wish I was a bit more measured in the live videos I Tweeted and I would’ve liked to have the time to cover the agricultural damage sustained during the fire sooner. Maybe I should’ve taken the initiative and done some super up close and personal photos when the fire had started. Marcus Yam’s photography for the Los Angeles Times was nothing short of incredible. Unbelievably inspiring stuff. But all things considered, I think I did Good.
More to come but in the meantime, I’ve linked my articles related to the Thomas Fire below:
Home insurance proves invaluable to Ventura County fire victims
Volunteer program providing healthy meals to displaced families
Downtown Ventura’s businesses look to bounce back from Thomas Fire losses
People displaced by Thomas Fire navigate Ventura County housing market
The GOP tax plan that was proposed last week had many local biz experts and economists concerned. I wrote about it here.
It’s always interesting to cover the intersection of politics and business and I’ll certainly continue covering this issue as it develops.
Ventura County was recently hit with some particularly unfortunate news: GDP was -2.7 in 2016. The county’s housing market is especially expensive, and growth in high-paying industries is especially poor. This is the same kind of thing I’ve been reporting since I started this job a year (!) ago, but to see it coalesce into something so negative is…Well, experts are concerned, to say the least.
The last month has been particularly hectic and I’ve slacked a bit on sharing my favorite reporting for the Ventura County Star. Between the newspaper job, a handful of Metal Injection reviews and a few other writing projects I’m trying to develop in my free (???) time, it’s been busy busy. Still, the show must go on!
Here’s a few links to some of the larger stories I’ve recently published in the Ventura County Star:
Economic forecast notes continuing development issues in county: The recent 2017 Entrepreneur Economic Forecast conference featured several leading analysts who discussed a variety of local and national issues. On one hand, these kinds of conferences can be somewhat dull to cover since I report on so many of them and they tend to reach similar consensuses. Still, it’s always nice to see how experts believe the county is doing and these events provide an excellent summary on the economic state of the region. Also, one presenter said that millennials wanting to live in “fancy apartments and have cellphone service” was a factor in economic inequality. So…yeah. There’s that.
Dole to lay off Oxnard strawberry workforce, shut farm: We published this a bit after the Los Angeles Times’ excellent story on this issue. Though the same topic, I aimed to make my article more locally-focused and I think my piece had some nice insights, even for those that already read the Los Angeles Times’ take.
Simi Valley company’s EazyHold makes it simple to get a grip: Holy, it’s a positive story! I enjoyed spotlighting this local startup that aims to provide superior grip assistants for individuals with physical disabilities. The company’s co-owners were an absolute pleasure to work with and it’s heartwarming to be able to provide coverage for folks that seem to be trying to do some genuine good for the community.
New music. Staying strong as the band’s big Three Zero approaches. And it’s Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray, so, The ’90s™.
I had a wonderful time interviewing Mark, who was just as magnanimous and kind off camera as he was during the interview. Big shoutout to the Ventura County Star for making it happen.
Check out the video here.
Dove into the county’s ever-concerning affordable housing issue. Talking to so many experts and residents was an enlightening experience and I genuinely enjoyed working on this piece. Hadn’t done such a lengthy analysis in some time. Check out the article here.
Believe it or not, I do have a full time job outside of writing heavy metal reviews. It’s been too long since I’ve shared my professional work here. So let’s change that!
Here’s a positive (!!!) article I wrote about the triumphs of women in agriculture and the challenges they still face.