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When you work in newspapers, every day brings new deadlines. Some stories stick with you. Here are a few of mine from recent years—award-winning investigative reports, science reporting, explanatory journalism and, yes, a 5,000-word feature about birdwatchers. 

‘Unprecedented’ toxin spread that delayed crab season shines light on mysterious algae

A report for Berkeley-based magazine Bay Nature on the massive toxic algae bloom that shut down California’s crab fishery in 2016. 

From cancer center to courtroom

One woman’s battle over bills uncovers a prestigious university medical center’s aggressive stance on patient debt. This story won the Virginia Press Association’s “Best in Show” award for non-daily writing in 2015.

Digging in: Inside Nelson County's fight to stop Dominion's pipeline through the Blue Ridge 

Residents of rural Nelson County, Virginia, have fought hard against the natural gas pipeline energy giant Dominion plans to build to move fracked gas from Pennsylvania to the Southeast coast. This feature won a second-place prize from the Virginia Press Association for in-depth reporting in 2015.

For the (love of the) birds: What does it take to break Albemarle’s one-day birding record?

A group of avid birdwatchers pools their formidable talent in an annual effort to see a record number of bird species in a single day. I got a little muddy.

Buried history: A 1954 case of sexual misconduct at UVA comes to light

In 2014, Rolling Stone published an explosive and later discredited story on a rape at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Reporters and editors in town—me included—worked hard to follow bad journalism with good. This piece, part of our ongoing coverage of sexual assault on college campuses, dug into a long-forgotten case involving prominent alumni.

Crimes and punishments: Universities, sexual assault, and why UVA is under investigation

The Rolling Stone piece fueled outrage and confusion in the college town of Charlottesville and beyond, but failed to explain the complexities of combatting campus sexual assault. So my paper did.