Hometown: Wauwatosa, WI
Birthday: February 21, 1956
Bio: I've wanted to write ever since my father introduced me to the complete works of Mark Twain when I was a child, but I didn't get my start in journalism until 1986 when I began supplementing my income as an English major through freelancing for the Chicago Reader. Getting paid to write seemed better than not, so after graduating from the University of Illinois-Chicago, I applied to the graduate program of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, the first and I believe still the best J-school in the world. Still a poor student, I begged my way onto the copy desk of the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. After five years of journalistic boot camp, I made my way to The Milwaukee Journal, settled in Wauwatosa, and I've been here ever since, editing and writing for The Journal and Journal Sentinel and teaching journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I'm thrilled to be a Patch editor in my adopted hometown of 20 years.
At Patch, we promise always to report the facts as objectively as possible and otherwise adhere to the principles of good journalism. However, we also acknowledge that true impartiality is impossible because human beings have beliefs. So in the spirit of simple honesty, our policy is to encourage our editors to reveal their beliefs to the extent they feel comfortable. This disclosure is not a license for you to inject your beliefs into stories or to dictate coverage according to them. In fact, the intent is the opposite: we hope that the knowledge that your beliefs are on the record will cause you to be ever mindful to write, report and edit in a fair, balanced way. And if you ever see evidence that we failed in this mission, please let us know.
I am unashamed to call myself a liberal in my personal political beliefs, and I don't think anyone should think it's a dirty word, because I believe this nation was founded on the most liberal principles the world has ever seen: that all people are equal and should govern their own affairs as equals. That said, I agree with my hero Thomas Jefferson about the limits of government and with many people today who believe that our government has in many ways outgrown that notion. In any case, I have 25 years of training and experience in journalism and I can assure readers that I have never let any personal beliefs affect my sense of fairness and balance in reporting or editing any story.
I grew up in the Methodist Church, and although I do not practice any religion now, I still adhere to much of the guidance of that church, which taught that we should all act toward others and conduct ourselves in accordance with certain beliefs that underlie Christian morality.
Local Hot-Button Issues
The hottest button in Wauwatosa, I believe, is in the undercurrents that swell to the surface from time to time as we try to deal with being the closest suburban community to urban Milwaukee and the socio-economic issues that sometimes spill over our borders.