Inquirer: My first couch surfing experience

A full-length travel story of mine focused on the five year anniversary of CouchSurfing.com at first destined for the Philadelphia Inquirer last January never found a home there. After a back and forth, I went another direction and it got a tad stale for the daily’s travel editor.

So, because I’ve shared other stories that didn’t run as planned, I’ll do so today. Additionally, as always, I also like to share some grafs that were reworked and items I cut from my original story, which also can be seen below.

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Fishtown Spirit: A neighborhood photographer wants more neighborhood support

A portrait of romance as captured by Keith Angelitis.

My first clip for the Fishtown Spirit ran in last Thursday’s issue, and my second ran yesterday.

Keith Angelitis just started a fire in the front room of his Frankford Avenue studio. He has a jacket on and a ball cap pulled over his ruffled brown hair. Big front windows welcome the sunlight that pours in and fills his 15-foot ceilings.

He is relaxing in a wooden chair, a prominent member of an otherwise sparsely furnished room, warmed by an old wood-burning stove. In the corner is an over-sized closet that Angelitis built during the beginning of his continuous renovation of 2452 Frankford Ave. Read more here.

Below the scoop on why I got involved with the Spirit.

Continue reading Fishtown Spirit: A neighborhood photographer wants more neighborhood support

Stories that never ran: What does a sex columnist look like?

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Sex columnists seem to have something in common.

That was a thought that came to my mind last January, while talking at the beginning of 2009 to friend who wrote a sex column for his college newspaper. None of my existing freelance contacts seemed all that interested in the topic, so I went shopping for someone who was.

I found a buyer in a Web site for sexuality, but I was just developing my freelance career and not yet stern in my not-writing-for-free policy, so I agreed to finish a draft before agreeing to terms.

When it came in, my editor balked, the economy worsened, advertising declined and freelance budgets were continually slashed, and so the story has sat ever since. Today, I share it here: a profile of the mindset of someone who just might be a sex columnist.

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Reporting for Metro Philadelphia

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Metro (June 2009 to present): I regularly contribute news stories and short features to the Philadelphia edition of the international newspaper. I also occasionally fill-in for staff reporters. See examples of some of my larger stories here.

January 2010 Invoice

  1. Christopher Wink N Electric Assist Bicycle
  2. Christopher Wink N Bradley Ericson Entrepreneur Q&A 1/4/10

December 2009 Invoice

  1. 12/21/09: 3.5 hours, 1:30 to 5 p.m. (Delilah Winder Taxes 12/22/09) 70
  2. Rosemary Feal MLA 12/22/09
  3. End-of-year Philadelphia Statistics
  4. 12/20/09: 4 hours, 2:30-6:30 p.m. (Fishtown plow streets 12/21/09; Holiday shopping brief 12/21/09; Man on the street snow 12/21/09; City snow removal data 12/21/09) 80

November 2009 Invoice

  1. Christopher Wink N Devon Theater 11/20/09 $125
  2. Christopher Wink N Burholme Blaze 11/23/09 $25
  3. Christopher Wink N Old City shooting brief 11/23/09 $125
  4. Christopher Wink N Thanksgiving Bicyclist 11/30/09 $125

October 2009 Invoice

  1. Christoper Wink N Dressed as Yankees fan 10/23/09 150
  2. Christopher Wink N PPA Parking Wars 10/1/09 150
  3. Christopher Wink N PPA QA 10/5/09 75
  4. Christopher Wink N Buffalo wings 10/15/09 100
  5. Christopher Wink N Geert Wilders 10/20/09 30
  6. Christopher Wink N WS playoff guide-KILL 10/28/09 50
  7. Christopher Wink N Fans in wrong city 10/28/09 250

September 2009 Invoice

  1. 17 hours at $20 =$340 ( Tues 9/8: 8:30-5;30 (9 hours) Wed 9/9: 10:30-6:30 (8 hours)
  2. Michael Vick story 8/9/09 125
  3. Death of American post office 9/2/09 $100
  4. Reporting: Colleges 9/9/09 $25
  5. Mural Arts 9/9/09 $100
  6. Sunday 9/27: 12:30-6= 5.5 X $20 = $110
  7. Monday 9/28: 10:30-7= 8.5 X $20 = $170
  8. Sticky Duct-taped cat 9/30/09 $100
  9. Young and unemployed 9/30/09 $100

August 2009 Invoice

  1. Science Cheerleader 8/20
  2. Babbette
  3. Temple Tuition
  4. Wrongful termination
  5. Plan C

July 2009 Invoice $150

  1. Casino story
  2. Two small items

Stories that never ran: ‘Can the Devon Theater survive in Mayfair?’

Last month, the Devon Theater, a professional production house in a working-class neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, canceled the final half of its inaugural season due to state budget constraints.

In going through some documents of mine, I found, perhaps prophetically, a story that never was from back in March when the Devon first reopened. Originally planned for Philadelphia Weekly, its working slug title was ‘Can the Devon survive in Mayfair?’

Perhaps that hope now seems less likely. Below, I share the piece that didn’t run (for a variety of reasons) and some extras from the reporting.

Continue reading Stories that never ran: ‘Can the Devon Theater survive in Mayfair?’

Metro: Snow reporting, records and such

Snow on Gaul
The remains of the second largest snow storm in recorded Philadelphia history on the 600-block of Gaul Street in the Fishtown neighborhood on Sunday, Dec.

Nothing newspapers love more than a big storm. I jumped into the fray with a few items for Metro on the second largest snowfall in recorded Philadelphia history in today’s paper.

The second worst snowstorm in Philadelphia’s recorded history welcomed John Hutchison to Fishtown over the weekend.

Read the rest of the main story here.

With intrepid photographer Rikard Larma, I trekked through the snowy streets of riverward neighborhood Fishtown and then up to some big box stores in Port Richmond.

A few extras below.

Continue reading Metro: Snow reporting, records and such

Metro: Bicycle rally following hospitalized cyclist and legislation

At left, victim Rachel Fletcher after being struck by a motorist on Thanksgiving Day. At right, her working as a bicycle messenger. Both photos were provided to me by Fletcher.
At left, victim Rachel Fletcher after being struck by a motorist on Thanksgiving Day. At right, her working as a bicycle messenger. Both photos were provided to me by Fletcher.

Another ugly chapter in the ongoing battle for the road between motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and the law was the focus of a story I wrote for Metro yesterday.

A few days after one of their own suffered serious facial injuries in a hit-and-run crash, city bicycle messengers upset with what one courier describes as “rising anti-cycling sentiment” are rallying at LOVE Park this evening. Read the rest here.

Staff writer Brian X. McCrone contributed to my reporting and helped pen the final product. Below I share how I got the story and a lot of other reading in this increasingly heated fight.

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City Paper: Chris Bartlett, Gay History Wiki and preserving a community

CP_2009-11-26Today — yes on Thanksgiving — I’m happy to say I have the cover story on this week’s Philadelphia City Paper, the popular alternative newsweekly, profiling Chris Bartlett and his push to chronicle the lives of 4,600 gay men he says died in Philadelphia after being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

Chris Bartlett sits down with his egg roll, just as the weekday lunch rush pours into Reading Terminal Market. At 43, this short, fiery gay man with tightly cropped, graying hair and thin, pursed lips, is already something of an elder statesman in Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community. For nearly two decades, he’s been at the center of just about every gay- and AIDS-related movement to hit this city’s streets. [More]

I previously wrote a shorter feature on Bartlett and his Gay History Wiki for Technically Philly, and he was recently interviewed by the Philadelphia Gay News.

Below, as always, check the extras from a half dozen interviews I did and other goodies from the research of this piece.

Continue reading City Paper: Chris Bartlett, Gay History Wiki and preserving a community

Temple Review: Profile of lawyer-turned TV producer Lukas Reiter

I contributed a short profile of a 1995 Temple University law graduate to the winter issue of Temple Review, the university’s alumni magazine.

Trial lawyers are storytellers, and Lukas Reiter, LAW ’95, always wanted to be a storyteller. He’s just taken it one step further now.

After graduating from the Klein School of Law, Reiter, 39, took a job as an assistant district attorney in the Queens County of his native New York City. Two years in and exhausted from the grind of the homicide investigations bureau, Reiter decided he needed a break. That break became a fast-paced ride toward another avenue for storytelling, as one of TV’s most respected authorities on crime and law drama, with a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced prime time show that premiered on ABC this fall…..

Pick up a copy or browse other stories here. Watch the trailer of the Forgotten TV series.

Metro: Adding human color to a Northeast Philadelphia fire

Naja Wigglesworth was happy to be alive after jumping from her apartment building during an early-morning fire.  Photo by Rikard Larma for Metro
Naja Wigglesworth was happy to be alive after jumping from her apartment building during an early-morning fire. Photo by Rikard Larma for Metro

I was able to humanize a bit the standard spot news metro fire story yesterday, when I covered a five-alarm blaze in the Burholme section of Northeast Philadelphia for Metro.

It wasn’t the fire and it wasn’t the screaming but God who woke up Naja Wigglesworth early Sunday morning, the 23-year-old says.

She was on the second floor of the Austin Manor Apartment building in the Burlholme neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia when it went up in flames around 4:30 a.m. yesterday.

Read the rest here.

So often, because of time constraints, coverage of these tragic fires are just rehashing of deaths and times and places, without accounting for the people who endure a great deal. I was happy I got to hear from residents about their experiences.

Below, local TV news coverage of the fire and an interview that didn’t make it into the front page story.

Continue reading Metro: Adding human color to a Northeast Philadelphia fire