The Warped Tour article

I covered Warped Tour’s final Ventura date for the Ventura County Star. Here is the article.

I was The Star’s guy for interviewing Mark McGrath at the Ventura County Fair last year and I was excited to bring my love for music journalism, which I typically only get to work on outside of the 9-5 newsroom job, back to the newspaper.

Alright, that sounded ridiculously corporate. But this was a genuinely fun and exciting opportunity and I think my enthusiasm for this kind of coverage is apparent in the article.

On Housing Secretary Ben Carson’s proposed rent increases on HUD properties

I spent most of last week analyzing the impact that Housing Secretary Ben Carson’s (since rescinded) proposal to raise rents in HUD-funded housing could have on Ventura County.

The article was embargoed for several days and by the time it went up Carson had stepped away from his plans. Holding the article until Sunday was not my decision. Regardless, HUD-funded housing will always be a major topic and I think there’s plenty if still-relevant information to unpack here.

Here’s the article.

My Thomas Fire coverage for the Ventura County Star

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.

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

Ventura County’s GDP was negative in 2016

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.