I curled into my girlfriend’s arms and sobbed the night before prematurely moving out of my West Union Street apartment a few months ago. My final semester at Ohio University was unfortunately upended by the coronavirus pandemic. And I just wasn’t ready to leave behind Athens, the town that helped shape me as both a reporter and an individual during my formative college years.
I unceremoniously returned home to Cleveland to finish what was left of the semester online and to earn my journalism degree, not knowing when I would return to Athens or see any of my friends again. I just wasn’t ready to leave behind Athens, the town that helped shape me as both a reporter and an individual during my formative college years.
Above all though, an overwhelming sense of loss weighed me down after having to abruptly leave behind The New Political, an OU student news organization where I previously served as managing editor. Overseeing a staff of incredibly talented reporters and covering political news in Athens is what got me out of bed each morning and kept me awake late into the night.
But now, after several months away and dozens of job applications later, I’m back in town working for The Athens NEWS as associate editor. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to continue producing the invaluable watchdog reporting that my predecessor Conor Morris so expertly provided. To put it lightly, I have enormous shoes to fill.
Expect to see continued coverage in the paper of OU’s budgetary woes, the coronavirus’ impact on the region, and city and county government.
Previously, I worked as an intern at Cleveland.com, the sister website of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where I primarily covered police, crime and courts. And I interned in Washington D.C. at CQ/Roll Call, a publication that covers the inner workings of Congress and the people who roam the Capitol’s hallways.
My favorite project at CQ/Roll Call detailed the growing popularity of podcasts and how then-Democratic Presidential hopefuls such as Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard used the medium to intimately connect with voters and explain in-depth policy proposals. I also published a piece that I’m really proud of that examined whether Ohio is shedding its long-time status as an important swing state in presidential elections.
A little more about me: I’m originally from Highland Heights, a suburb on the east side of Cleveland. I spend much of my free time reading news, playing video games and spinning vinyl records. I also enjoy long hikes through the woods and sipping craft beers.
I’ve gleaned quite a bit about news gathering and writing through my two internship experiences and the years I spent as an editor at The New Political. Dedicated Athens NEWS readers may also recognize my byline since I’ve written a few freelance stories for newspaper in the past, but I still have so much to learn.
I’m excited for whatever challenges come my way in the coming weeks and months, and I’d love to hear from you about any news tips you may have, or if you just want chat. I can be reached via email at email@example.com, or you can follow me on social media @BenPeters2 (I always leave my DMs open, so feel free to shoot me a message whenever!).