Friends, Americans, Countrywomen and Countrymen:
For those who don't know me, it has been eight months since I graduated from college and embraced a new life as a poor writer. I’m living a dream that has been romanticized through the years in a number of beautiful ways: expatriate living in France; participation in a Spanish civil war; eating your body weight in Ramen noodles. Believe it or not, though, things are coming together. For those who don’t know, I’ve been employed at Baltimore’s Urbanite magazine since May, writing articles for the print magazine and doing all things digital media (think: The Facebook, and a bunch of technical terms about “unique visitors” that Google itself can’t explain properly).
This story about Jan Morgan, as I've mentioned, is something I've been working on since October. There's a lot of legal jargon to cut through in this story, but here's a relatively basic synopsis:
By striking Jan with her car, the driver violated Mississippi’s three-foot-law, which mandates that motor vehicles leave three feet of buffer space between them and cyclists. Violating the law results in a misdemeanor charge. However, on the recommendation of Mississippi law enforcement, Jan filed a charge of simple assault with a deadly weapon against the driver, who was found guilty—and was then handed a $50 fine, which she is now appealing. (In other words, the judge knocked down the sentence.)
I'm in the final stages of reporting now, and a draft is due in about two weeks. Depending on how the fundraising goes, that might make it difficult to get to Mississippi this month for on-the-ground reporting. I’m now coordinating with sources there (as well as assembling a nice phone bill courtesy of many interviews…) to obtain certain documents I need. I’m currently mulling over using the money to facilitate a trip after the initial draft is finished, with the reporting going toward a series of Web-only articles. More to come soon.
Thanks to you all!
Yours in community-funded journalism,