Who am I?
This has always been, by far, the worst question anyone has ever asked me. Philosophically? Morally? Historically? Scientifically?
I’ve spent 24 years trying to answer that question and haven’t had any success yet.
Describe yourself in five words. Telling a writer they only get five words is like telling a child they only get one bite of a Kit Kat. It just leads to tears and heartache.
As many of the people I have met here now know, I was born and raised in the Dairy State (Wisconsin) in a town that makes Cody look like Casper.
I did my college work in political science before I decided my head wasn’t big enough and I had to get a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon (ha, take that Nicole! I’ve finally got one over on you, sis!).
I got my start in journalism during my undergraduate career at Saint Norbert College – you can’t see it, but I’m holding up a hand and pointing to the spot between my thumb and forefinger, the classic Wisconsin way to point out Green Bay – in radio, where I asked the college president on my fourth or fifth live show ever why we didn’t have better toilet paper in the dorms. It’s what the people wanted to know!
I decided I wanted to work in public relations for a three-letter agency because it had good pay and good benefits, until I got the chance to do so at the Pentagon and realized that just wasn’t for me.
So I was back to the drawing board, halfway through my junior year of college, and back to the broadcast booth where I got to call SNC’s football and basketball games in between National Guard drill weekends.
After a brief brush with television news, I knew my calling was in the written word, because, let’s be honest, I’ve got a face for radio and a voice for newsprint.
I knew after living in D.C. that working in a big city would never work for me (if there are any Angelenos or New Yorkers reading this, they may laugh. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t want to live in those places, either.). So the next task at hand was to find a smaller newspaper that had actually survived the pandemic AND was hiring.
A pile of rejections proved that was no easy task.
A perfect storm led me to Cody and I couldn’t be more grateful. “Western Hospitality” is no mere aphorism – my downstairs neighbors proved that when they let me “borrow” (read: forced me to take) a bed for a week instead of sleeping on the floor.
Now that I’m here, I should tell you: I’m a huge nerd who loves government meetings and tabletop role-playing games. I’ll be covering education, health care, rodeo and anything else my editor throws my way.
I’ve long believed that everyone has a story worth telling. There are some 9,500 people in Cody, and hundreds more outside the city limits.
That means 10,000-plus stories to tell. Every. Single. Day. I can’t do that all on my own, but I’d still love to try it. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @LeachReports.