Feature Writing

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Below you will find samples of feature articles I’ve written. While I enjoy writing in all forms, features hold a special place in my heart.They allow me to introduce my readers to unique individuals. I am a firm believer that every one of us has a story to tell. Sometimes all it takes is a journalist to bring that story to the surface by knowing what questions to ask.

-Ryan Anderson

(Central Florida Future March 23, 1995)

Undergraduate Student Returns to Class After a Five-Decade Spring Break

While many stories merely reflect a moment in time, sometimes an interview subject leaves a mark long after the article has gone to print. Such was the case with this article I wrote when I was an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

The article centers on a 75-year-old-great grandfather named Elmer Kundinger, who returned to school after what he called, a “50-year Spring Break.” When our paths crossed in 1995, Elmer and I were in decidedly different phases of our lives. However, in the years since that interview, Elmer was one of those stories that I would often think about.

In fact, when I decided to go back to school and get my Master’s degree after a 20-year break, I thought about Elmer. I was pleased to find out that he even went back and received a second degree.

(Pearland Journal December 26, 2000)

Alliance Aims to Keep Food Pantries Filled Year Round

This is another one of the articles that stuck with me long after I wrote it. Six years after this article was published, a fire completely destroyed the warehouse I toured which housed millions of pounds of donated food and medical supplies.

Based on the resolve I saw from the workers and volunteers I interviewed, I knew they would not let something like a devastating fire end their mission. And sure enough, they rose from the ashes and continued to feed hungry people year-round.

This was also the article where a young journalist learned that while stories centered on holiday food drives are good, the need to feed the hungry is a year-long effort since people are not only hungry during the holidays.

(Knight Times March 25, 1997)

Bellhorn Making Mark with Knights

This article holds special meaning for me for two reasons. First, it was one of the first features I wrote for the newspaper, Knight Times, that I had started three months earlier, and second the interview subject, Todd Bellhorn, was someone I wrote about when he pitched a no hitter while we were both students at the same high school five years earlier.

In this article, it kind of felt like we were both hitting our strides, still doing what we loved, and figuring out who we were going to be when we grew up.

Although, some could certainly argue that one never truly figures out the answer of what will we be when we grown up since the answer is constantly evolving.

(Knight Times September 2, 1997

Hitt Looks Towards Future as UCF Enters Next Millennium

This article is part two of a two-part series I wrote on UCF President John Hitt for Knight Times. It was important to me as the founder of a new newspaper, to show we meant business. For me, that meant securing an interview with the most powerful man on campus. The interview definitely prepared me well for my future interactions with college presidents and other high-ranking officials.

Looking back on the article now with over 20 years of hindsight, I am amazed by how many of the predictions Dr. Hitt laid out for his vision of the future of UCF came true.

(Lake Houston Sun June 10, 2003)

Yogi Baird Brings Unique Movements to Violin Playing

In journalism school they taught me to be prepared for almost anything. They did not, however, prepare me for how to interview someone as they stood on their head and played the fiddle.

Such was the scenario I found myself in one warm summer afternoon in Texas when I met, Yogi Baird, the self described “world’s only contortionist fiddle player.”

When the interview was complete I had what I felt was a great story as well as a bit of a stiff neck from trying to maintain eye contact through all his various moves.

(The Baytown Sun September 27, 2002)

Nichols Making Most of Talent, Opportunity

I wrote this article during my time as Sports Information Director at Lee College as part of a series of features I was writing on the members of the volleyball team and their pursuit of a National Title.

Versions of this article appeared in several local newspapers within the college’s service area and helped bring attention to a great player as well as a great team.

(Baytown Sun June 10, 2003)

Lady Rebels Sophomore ‘Setting’ School Records

This article, is another feature I wrote as part of my series on the Lee College volleyball players that was picked up by the Baytown Sun and several other publications within the college service area.

I would ultimately transition from my role as Sports Information Director at the college, to being the sports reporter covering them from the other end of the press box for the Baytown Sun.

(Friendswood Journal January 17, 2001)

Local Florist Tapped for Inauguration

Much like a hybrid orchid is more than just one thing, this article straddles the line between a political article, a local business profile and a human interest feature.

The article features a local florist getting called to Washington D.C. to make festive floral decorations for the inauguration of George W. Bush. The fact that a local florist was heading to D.C. certainly had the town where the floral shop was located blooming with pride.