Bio

I caught the journalism bug 25 years ago at a feisty student newspaper.


I’m still not cured.

And what a thrill reporting has been: hobnobbing with heads of state and politicians, tech prodigies and peace activists, billionaires and panhandlers. I’ve written up shootings, drug busts, rodeos, hot air balloon races, freeway pile ups, rallies, riots, elections, obituaries, courtroom dramas and hundreds of education and technology topics.

From quirky, no-stoplight towns on backcountry roads to emergency Presidential news conferences in front of Air Force One, the assignments have never been dull. I’ve been dispatched to hang out with violent gangbangers in sprawling public housing projects and paid to schmooze with high-tech entrepreneurs during the dot-com craze.

On the business technology beat, I rubbed elbows with the CEOs of Microsoft and Google, and I covered the launch parties for Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, and XP. In courts, I’ve chronicled arsonists, crooks, rapists, and murderers. One day I tagged along in Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s press pool. In Los Angeles, I reported on widespread lawlessness during the Rodney King verdict uprising.

It wasn’t Watergate or The Pentagon Papers, but the hands-on student press that hooked me. We tackled serious subjects: abortion, gang rape on frat row, automatic weapons in dorm rooms, and underage drinking.

To break into dailies, I stitched together an internship covering the Colorado General Assembly for the Colorado Springs Sun. The gamble paid off. I was hired to gather education stories from an array of K-12 schools and colleges. Sadly, the Sun was ahead of the consolidation wave. The paper was sold to its competition and folded.

Three weeks later, I moved to Los Angeles to write education stories for the L.A. Daily Breeze, which circulated from Santa Monica to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and inland to Culver City, Inglewood, Lennox and Compton. I reported on major national stories –McMartin Preschool molestation trial, Rodney King verdict riots, and an 11-day Los Angeles teachers’ strike. Education –something every reader knows something about -- was the soul of the beat. For seven years, I mined L.A. schools and colleges for news and features: teen parenting, dropout prevention, teacher tenure, curriculum reform and public school inequality.

I relocated to Seattle and freelanced for USA Today, Asia Times, Seattle Weekly and Seattle Times before landing a gig as Northwest Bureau Chief for United Press International. The wire service offered press credentials, a desk, a phone and a ringside seat to top stories.

For UPI, I filed breaking news about Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain’s suicide and Courtney Love’s raw eulogy at his memorial. I rode in Boris Yeltsin’s northwest motorcade, mingled with Paul and Linda McCartney at the Seattle Art Museum, questioned Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen about buying the Seahawks, observed the SuperSonics’ and Chicago Bulls’ locker rooms during their NBA Finals series, and got admitted to the press box, interview rooms and clubhouse during the Seattle Mariners’ 1995 league championship series.

The pace never slowed: Boeing machinists hoisted picket signs. An arsonist killed four firefighters. Windows 95 launched. The Clintons and Gores visited. Planet Hollywood opened.

Dot-com era advertising swelled technology publications in the 90s. Some sported 500-page weekly editions. New York-based Computer Reseller News hired me away from UPI in 1996 to cover Microsoft’s product launches, trade shows, financial results, mergers and acquisitions, long-running antitrust trials, as well as the company’s movers and shakers, developers, partners, competitors and critics.

Moving into online journalism in 1999, I jumped from CRN to TechWeb, CMP Media Inc.’s web news portal. I edited staff reporters and freelancers, managed the homepage, blogged about e-commerce and continued to track Microsoft. In 2007, CMP retrenched and shifted news back to New York.

The Los Angeles Times Northwest Bureau offered an unprecedented opportunity -- assisting the paper’s National Desk as a researcher and reporter. As a researcher, I backed up national correspondents on major breaking national stories: Las Vegas hotel fire, New Orleans hurricane, Chicago campus shooting, Alaska volcano eruption. I gathered Seattle reaction about national news: President Barack Obama’s election, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s fall from grace, uncertain economy, Supreme Court gun control ruling.

I wrote breaking news and bylined articles on regional issues of national interest: assisted suicide, civil rights, medical marijuana, domestic border patrol checkpoints, immigration, recycling, eco-terrorism, and education. Articles appeared in the Nation pages of the Los Angeles Times, often on Sundays, and were syndicated to large newspapers nationwide.

Of course, many reporters have had more noteworthy careers, exposed more corruption, or won more awards. I’m just saying it’s been a terrific ride, thus far, since catching the journalism bug.

I’m still not cured.

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