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Abhinanda Datta, Contributing Editor
3:05 pm CDT March 30, 2020

“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 or through any of our other 14 newspapers.

What do you do at 22nd Century Media?

I am the editor of The Lockport Legend. What that means is I plan the paper, write for it, assign stories to our freelancers and grapple with two very pressing deadlines each week to bring readers the best coverage of the city.


What does your job at 22nd Century Media mean to you?

I wanted to be a journalist to make a difference, to tell stories that would have otherwise gone unheard. My job here has provided me with the opportunity to do just that. Not many can say they do what they are passionate about, but I can.


What is the most memorable story you've written during your time here?

This is akin to “Sophie's Choice,” because I have a certain level of emotional attachment to all the stories I have written so far. However, because I have a special place in my heart for animals, the story about Lockport's first equine-assisted therapy center, The Legacy Ranch, is my favorite. It wasn't just a story about a great endeavour, but also about a woman's ability to overcome anguish and channel her grief to help others.


What have you learned about the community you cover that you otherwise might not have known?

The people of Lockport people are generous, resilient and incredibly amazing. They are the true "legends."


What do you like to do for fun when you're not working?

I have a yearly book challenge, so I read. My goal for this year is 100 books, and I am done with 20 so far. When I am not nose-dipped in a book, I like volunteering at animal shelters across Chicago.


What's one thing even your co-workers probably don't know about you?

Even though I am a budding misanthrope, I like my co-workers more than I like most people. 


What is your perfect work lunch situation?

Coffee, coffee and more coffee


How are you riding out this COVID-19 pandemic?

As someone who is on the extreme end of the spectrum for introverts, I have been preparing for this since I was a child. My daily routine has not changed much, except that instead of going to Starbucks I am getting my daily dose of caffeine delivered to my doorstep.


Anything else you want people to know?

Pursuing journalism was not an easy decision for me, since I'm from a country that believes reporting is predominantly a man's job. I am glad that I did not conform to the patriarchal norms of our society and found a job that I love. In the past one year, I was able to make an impact in the lives of the Lockport residents.