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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 SubscribePatriot.com or through any of our other 14 newspapers.
What do you do at 22nd Century Media?
As sports editor of The Orland Park Prairie and The Tinley Junction, I write stories and columns, take photos, plan on coverage with freelancers, plan what goes on the cover each week, write wacky headlines, plus an assortment of other duties. I also write and shoot photos for concerts at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre and am proud to not get spit on by Marilyn Manson.
What does your job at 22nd Century Media mean to you?
It means that I get to tell a lot of great stories about people that normally would not get told, since there is a true lack of media covering these two great towns.
What is the most memorable story you've written during your time here?
We did a Q&A like this with special needs weightlifter Colin Lewis and asked him if he could have dinner with anyone, who would it be with? He said then-Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. Somehow word got to Coach Q, and the Blackhawks arranged a lunch with Colin and his family and Coach Q and his wife. It may have been the coolest moment in my long career.
What have you learned about the community you cover that you otherwise might not have known?
Since most of my coverage deals with high school students, I have learned that even though they are a generation or two or three or four younger than me, there are quite a few student-athletes from this area who are going to make a positive difference in this world.
What do you like to do for fun when you're not working?
Before raising kids, I was a big-time reader. Then, my wife Maggie and I became big-time sports fans when our kids were growing up and playing basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball. Now that my daughter, Lauren, has one more year of college volleyball left in the fall (if we are all not quarantined) perhaps I can get a little more reading done than I do now.
What's one thing even your co-workers probably don't know about you?
I don’t have a middle name.
What is your perfect work lunch situation?
When we have holiday parties in the office (shout out to Heather Warthen for arranging them) and everyone is bringing something to the table. Diet? Hah! Not on those days. Otherwise, a Subway sammich during deadline days works great.
How are you riding out this COVID-19 pandemic?
Binge watching and walking. But with Lauren home from college, we are also eating dinner at the same time at the same table, which was a rarity before.
Anything else you want people to know?
These last two years covering Orland and Tinley have been great. I have been blessed to cover some amazing events in my life — Bulls championships, White Sox World Series, Greg Maddux’s 300th win, Kerry Wood’s 20K game, Sosa/McGwire home run battle, the Indy 500 and much more — but getting to tell some amazing human interest stories from Orland and Tinley that have made readers laugh, cry or say “wow!” is even more rewarding.