Hurricane Frances initiated me into the realities of reporting in Florida. My 2004 internship with the High Springs Herald began the week that Alachua County found itself directly on Frances' path.

From the High Springs Herald, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2004:

Newberry spent the Labor Day weekend absorbing the punishing blows of Hurricane Frances.

By Thursday, Director of Public Works Blaine Suggs had sandbags ready for the public and extra personnel on standby for emergencies. Power and water were to be watched, but left on.

On the same day, "Stud Muffin," "Petunia," "Gay Bar in Dallas" -- all horses -- and their traveling companions sought refuge in Newberry.

Clicking the newspaper's logo will take you to a facsimile of the story

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Reporters are not always popular - especially among candidates for a city election. For Gainesville's 2005 City Commissioner race, I worked as the city beat reporter for the Independent Florida Alligator.

When the victorious incumbent Rick Bryant dodged the Alligator's post-election questions, I tracked the commissioner down at a local bar, providing the paper's lead:

From the Alligator, Wednesday, March 20, 2005:

When results were announced at the end of Gainesville's City Commission elections Tueday night, At-Large incumbent Rick Bryant had reason to cheer.

..."I thought I was going to be knocking on doors for the next three weeks," Bryant said, adding that after his last-minute win, he'll go to Disney World instead."

Two days before the elections, another incumbent commissioner was accused of exchanging his influence for votes. Our main credited source was Gainesville mayor, giving the story news value the newspaper could not ignore. I wrote the story, and after intense newsroom debate, the Alligator decided to run it.

Click the logo for the full-text article, posted on the Alligator's online site. Typing my name into the site's search engine, a few of my many Alligator stories can be found.

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