• "A deadly exchange of gunfire broke the silence of a quiet, rural campground in Cherokee County Friday afternoon."

    "A bloody knife fight unfolded inside a Boiling Springs home Thursday evening while farm tractors and swaying trees outside painted a seemingly peaceful picture to passers-by."

    "A 16-year-old is dead after Spartanburg police say he was stabbed by his older brother before running to a neighbor's doorstep for help, leaving a trail of blood along the way."

    -- Ledes that fill my notebooks.

  • Recent Posts

A look back at fire deaths

Fire fatalities burned an eye-opening statistic into Spartanburg County last year. As we enter 2015, a look back at 2014 reveals that the county significantly led the state with the highest number of people killed in fires. Fourteen people died in fires in 2014. There were just two in 2013 and another two in 2012. Not … Continue reading

‘Gross on Patrol’ crime blog offers more detail

A space to provide expanded coverage of breaking news and crime-related articles is now up and running. I’ve created a “Gross on Patrol” blog through GoUpstate.com. The crime blog is an extension of my reporter’s notebooks. As you know, a short article in a daily newspaper might not always leave the reader satisfied. My hope … Continue reading

A positive headline among the muck of journalism trends

Well this one caught me by surprise. I was treating myself to a daily dose of headlines from Poynter and Romenesko today. I read one clipping which told the story of a Detroit Free Press staffer who was made to attend a training session on the very day she was laid off. “What’s new?” I … Continue reading

When to use a straight news lede

Sad story today. I was reading The Associated Press’ accounts of a shooting in Maine where five people — including three children between ages 4 and 12 — were found shot to death inside an apartment. The details are sorrowful, but the news is blunt. I wanted to share because I found it to be one … Continue reading

WaPo blogger notes ‘grammar of police shootings’

I stumbled on this blog entry through a tweet from AMU/APU criminal justice professor Mark Bond. The title reads, “The curious grammar of police shootings.” I come to find out the post goes into detail about one of the all-too-common sightings I encounter as a cops reporter, a beat that thrives on rummaging through police … Continue reading

Reporting through 80 pounds of protection

I’l admit, strapping on the bomb suit put me in a Hollywoodesque mindset.I imagined I was starring in the Oscar-nominated The Hurt Locker as I approached the scene of a controlled explosive to ensure the blast detonated. Strips and pieces of cardboard were everywhere. A small blast mark had imprinted in the parking lot space. All clear. The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office … Continue reading

Mentoring a summer intern

For the next couple of months, I have the pleasure of serving as a mentor for one of our summer interns at the Herald-Journal. Andrew Moore is a junior print journalism student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. I have a cumbersome checklist for him to tackle while he is with us and the internship … Continue reading

Latest awards from MDDC Press Association

I’ve been in South Carolina now for about five months. I left The Frederick News-Post in Frederick, Md. to join the ranks at the Herald-Journal in Spartanburg, S.C. and I couldn’t be happier here. That said, I am pleased to feel as if I made a true impact at my last newspaper. I learned Friday that … Continue reading

Fighting crime with… iPads?

This week I’ve had a number of conversations with officers in the Spartanburg Police Department about the possibility of having the department use iPads or similar tablet devices. For years now, each patrol cruiser has been stocked with what’s called a Toughbook. They’re heavy, durable laptops and can’t be taken out of the cruisers. They … Continue reading

Deep inside the cops beat

How else could I learn the attributes of each type of blood spatter found in crime scenes, that dogs in a K-9 Unit can run up to 35 miles per hour or  exactly how a Taser shot feels? Gross on Patrol is a series of articles the Herald-Journal has run each Sunday chronicling my findings as a participant … Continue reading