My Unexpected Journey to Inspire Citizen Engagement Through Local Journalism

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The beginning of my journey from math and science to writing

As a student, my love for math and science was apparent. Unsurprisingly, I pursued a Master’s degree in environmental engineering – a perfect combination of my passions. However, when it came to English and writing, the word dread came to mind. The most exposure I had to writing in college was a dull technical writing course. So, how did I end up as a columnist for Moonshine Ink?

Becoming a content creator for Tahoe Mountain Sports

Looking to sharpen my writing abilities and explore more creative writing than I do on this blog, I applied to be a content creator for Tahoe Mountain Sports through their brand ambassador program about 8 years ago. I figured it would be an excellent opportunity to hone my writing skills. Since writing on my own wasn’t something I was particularly motivated to do, this was the perfect push. Now, you can find dozens of my trip reports, gear reviews, and how-to articles here.

Writing on the McCullough Web Services blog

But how did I go from there to Moonshine Ink? It started with a blog post I wrote last fall on how to stay informed about local happenings by subscribing to the best email newsletters in the Truckee/Tahoe area. The feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive, so I thought it would be a great idea to share it with a broader audience. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was offered a one-time guest column in the Think Local section, which turned into a regular column, called Owl Post.

Why Moonshine Ink

Moonshine Ink is a newspaper that truly captures the essence of our community and showcases all that it has to offer. I’ve always been inspired by the local spirit and sense of belonging that exists here. Through my column, “Owl Post” I get to highlight the people, organizations, and events that make our community so special.

Owl Post highlights

In “Learning the Lay of the Land,” I emphasized the importance of being an informed citizen to become an engaged one. I wrote for both new and existing residents, highlighting key newsletters to read and easy actions to take to be a part of our community’s fabric.

In “Get to Know Your Government by E-Post,” I explored different ways to stay up-to-date on important issues and have your voice heard by elected officials without attending countless meetings.

In “In the Social Know,” I focused on the social media accounts and pages that can help keep us connected to what’s happening in our community. You’d never know about some events if it weren’t for local social media!

In “In the Nonprofit Know” I share my personal experiences with some of my favorite nonprofits and why they’re important to me. I also offer practical advice on how to find the right nonprofit for you to support through volunteerism or donations.

An invitation to read “Owl Post”

Writing for Moonshine Ink has been an incredibly fulfilling experience. It’s helped me appreciate even more how special our community is. I’m grateful to inspire others to become informed citizens and take easy actions to contribute to the strength and vitality of our community.

I’d be honored if you read Owl Post and I look forward to sharing more insights and perspectives.

Key Owl Post links

Learning the Lay of the Land

Get to Know Your Government by E-Post

In the Social Know

In the Nonprofit Know


  1. Jacquie Chandler on March 19, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    Life happens while you’re making plans? Sometimes the most fulfilling journeys and/or accomplishments are the ones not on your GPS

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