New opportunity to seek compelling stories

As of last Friday, I’ve accepted a new position as a part-time staff reporter for The Advocate, the sister publication of the Carroll County Times. The Advocate has three publications, each for niche markets within Carroll County. I will be covering North Carroll, specifically the Hampstead and Manchester communities. They are rather small areas and Hampstead for example, has a population of a little more than 5,000 residents.

Although they are far different territories than what I’m used to seeing, being  in Towson near Baltimore, I am eager to immerse myself in community journalism.

Both towns are incorporated so there are policies and resolutions that come out of the town councils. In addition, their police and fire departments do stay active with community events and such. But I can’t say there is much crime in either area. In fact, so far this year, there have been o homicides, 0 rapes, 0 sexual offenses, 1 robbery, and 11 assaults, according to Hampstead Police Department’s crime statistics. This track record is far different than what I’m used to seeing while following Justin Fenton and Peter Hermann’s reporting for the Baltimore Sun.

But I see this “low-profile” area as a chance to dig up the nuggets, a real opportunity to find hidden stories that are worth reading. Everyone has a story to tell. And I intend to find these stories. Small-time community journalism is unique in that there is not a lot of breaking news going on, which allows the reporter to grow in the community and become very familiar with local sources, digging up compelling stories that may go unnoticed in a more bustling market.

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