Reporting

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One of the reasons I was excited and honored to be named the 2019–20 Invesitgative Reporting Workshop graduate reporting fellow was the strong partnership the nonprofit newsroom had established and fostered. This yearlong investigation The Fresno Bee published in partnership with the IRW uncovered a deepening division of clean water access for poor people of color in California's San Joaquin Valley and elsewhere in the Golden State.

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When a chilling discovery thrust the quality of a public utility's drinking water supply into question, it became clear that fair and accurate coverage required more than just one story. I wanted to include these two stories among my writing samples for two reasons, however: Not only do they represent a long series, but they illustrate how that coverage can sometimes become the story, no matter how hard you try to prevent it.

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I would venture that event coverage or advances don't often make a reporter's writing-sample cut. This is a rare exception. When a source approached me about getting something in the newspaper's calendar section about some upcoming housing events, I took a mundane tip one step further. After all, there is almost always a deeper story to tell.

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Once open records request documents revealed that the city was negotiating a deal with a local museum that would move from its historic location, it was critical that I frame that story in the proper context: part of a larger effort to lower city subsidies and liquidate real estate.

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When you immerse yourself in rural western Kentucky, it's hard to ignore the impact the coal industry has on people's lives. Severance taxes drive public spending and the job market buys groceries at the corner stores.  

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On the western edge of one of the country's largest national recreation areas, Murray has its fair share of Land Between the Lakes news. When an age-old power dynamic between parks officials and former residents sparked over logging rights, I wanted to the chance to put environmental news in a more palatable perspective.

© 2020 by Austin R. Ramsey