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“The People behind the Papers” is a Q&A series featuring the employees of 22nd Century Media who play an integral role in producing 15 community newspapers. The project is designed to give readers an inside look at the personalities that drive the journalism you have read weekly in print and daily on our websites. To support the work we do, please consider subscribing at NorthbrookTower.com/PLUS or through any of our other 14 newspapers.
What do you do at 22nd Century Media?
I am the editor of The Northbrook Tower. My job consists of editing stories for the print and online editions of The Tower, planning content for the news and life and arts sections of the paper and writing and reporting on stories of my own. Additionally, I manage The Tower’s website and social media accounts.
What does your job at 22nd Century Media mean to you?
This job means the world to me. I feel honored to have an opportunity to cover the Northbrook community and to deliver meaningful stories to our readers on a daily basis. I find such great joy in the work The Tower does. This job allows me to live out my professional dream of being a reporter.
What is the most memorable story you've written during your time here?
Now I know what it feels like to be asked the tough questions. There’s so many stories I’m proud of from my time with The Tower. But my most memorable would have to be the story of Glenbrook North graduate Michael Oh. The story allowed me to share Oh’s incredible journey. While simultaneously enabling me to write about one of my greatest joys in life — the game of baseball. The former GBN ace earned the opportunity to pitch for the University of North Carolina after battling back from multiple injuries and undergoing Tommy John surgery.
What have you learned about the community you cover that you otherwise might not have known?
Covering Northbrook for the last three years has allowed me to learn about the village’s storied past. I cannot even begin to quantify the vast amount of information I’ve learned about Northbrook since starting this job. I’ve also learned this community is full of wonderful, caring people who have such an affinity for their hometown. Northbrook residents are incredibly supportive and find such great value in cheering on their neighbors, rooting for their local students and helping others whenever possible.
What do you like to do for fun when you're not working?
I love watching and playing baseball, going to concerts, listening to music and spending time with my partner, family and friends. I truly enjoy tossing the football around or playing frisbee with my coworkers after a long week of work. I consider this my favorite intersection of work and fun.
What's one thing even your co-workers probably don't know about you?
I’m an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. This hobby started in the third grade when my family and I attended our first Cubs Convention. Since, my dad and I have collected thousands of autographs together over the years. It’s become a joyous hobby of ours and a way for us to bond over our shared love of baseball.
What is your perfect work lunch situation?
Ah, perfection, what a beautiful aspiration. Well, it starts like this: Around 12:15 p.m. I receive a message on slack (our most efficient in-office means of communication) from one of my coworkers. The message is simple, yet so very powerful. It includes just a few words, and it reads, “Did you bring lunch today?”
My answer is, almost always, “No.” From there, a 10-15 minute conversation, on a good day, ensues.
By now, you’re probably wondering a variety of different questions, the most pressing of which is how do they come to a common agreement?!? Sure, it’s a tale as old as time, the trip derails after the group fails to reach an agreement. But ours never does. We prevail, in the great name of lunch! When all is said and done, we arrive, with the rest of our coworkers.
There’s only my one requirement of wherever we select — diet coke must be an option.
How are you riding out this COVID-19 pandemic?
MLB The Show might be near the top of this list. But in all seriousness, I’ve been able to maintain a solid headspace by spending time with loved ones, writing heartwarming stories about the generosity of Northbrook residents during these trying times, and doing my best to stay active.
Anything else you want people to know?
Wash your hands, don’t touch your face and subscribe to your local newspaper.
And a message of thanks, for not only making it this far, but for your support and readership. We greatly appreciate the wonderful readers our publication has. Providing you with the news you deserve is our greatest joy. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to do so.
- Peter Kaspari, Lake Forest Leader editor
- Erin Yarnall, Highland Park Landmark editor
- Jason Addy, Glenview Lantern editor
- Megan Bernard, NS assistant managing editor
- T.J. Kremer III, Mokena Messenger editor
- Benjamin Conboy, assistant editor
- Sean Hastings, New Lenox Patriot editor
- Abhinanda Datta, Lockport Legend editor
- Jacquelyn Schlabach, Tinley Junction editor
- Lauren Coughlin, SW assistant managing editor
- Joe Coughlin, publisher
- Nuria Mathog, Frankfort Station editor
- Eric DeGrechie, North Shore managing editor
Editor's Note: Check back for more “The People behind the Papers” stories later today.