I’m a newspaper reporter, too

In an era when print publications are supposedly rapping at death’s door, my local paper, The Press Democrat, is expanding. A subsidiary of the The New York Times Company, this daily has recently added an entire new section in the Sunday paper, called TOWNS. Each page is devoted to a different town or region of Sonoma County, and features stories about people, places and events within those communities. This hyper-local approach is a prototype of sorts, and requires a correspondent from each community across the county, and I’ve been hired as the Healdsburg Correspondent.

My first story in the Sunday paper was about a hot dog shack that just so happens to have the hottest karaoke night in the county, Johnny’s Tavern. The next one was about the four teens who created Healdsburg High’s first ever mountain biking team from scratch.

I also blog a couple times a week for The Press Democrat’s website. I’ve posted about things like Chelsea Handler’s on-air props to Barndiva Restaurant. And the madness of drinking Bushmills and beer at six in the morning during our town’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The biggest story, so far, has been an expose about Chef Douglas Keane’s misfire at his new restaurant, Shimo. The story was picked up by the SF Chronicle’s food blog, “Inside Scoop,” and was included in The New York Times Dining compilation, “What We’re Reading.” They described it as: “a winningly candid Douglas Keane… on messing up, receiving hate mail, and phasing out the wine list — in wine country!”

Though the pay is a pittance, I’m not doing this for the money. I’m doing it because a) I love highlighting the people, places and things that keep me stuck to Healdsburg, and b) for the experience.