brittanyrlevine

It’s been awhile

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2011 at 10:07 PM

So it’s been awhile since I’ve written any blog posts. My new goal is to try and write about three or four a week about what it’s like to be a journalist covering local news.

The most interesting thing I’ve been writing about lately is property rights. I wrote a story about a mobile-home controversy last week and one about a man trying to build a home just outside an ocean-view development (one that’s been mired in Lehman Bros bankruptcy issues). Each had its own challenges. For the mobile-home park it was difficult to a) get the full story since it stretches back years and b)get the people accused of misdeeds to talk. To handle the first challenge, I had all my sources start from the beginning and tell me the story. Once I heard it a few times, I understood the flow and could ask pointed questions. The second one took a little bit of creativity. I got a hold of some community letters the people who didn’t want to talk sent around and quoted from there. I also found a former park president that no longer lives there, so she could talk more freely. All in all, I believe I was very accurate and fair, which is a plus.

The story about the new housing development was complicated because it dealt with land zoning an Mello-Roos taxes. I also had to wrestle with an important dealer. The builder has a bad tax history (he was one of Hawaii’s top delinquents in 2009). I wasn’t sure how much play I wanted to give that part of the story. However, I ended up deciding that it was a character trait that was descriptive and relevant since the property owner wanted all the perks of this new community without having to pay the Mello-Roos taxes that other homeowners in the area have to divvy up.

Next time I’ll talk about my adventures in public records requests.

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