My first newspaper job out of college was as a county government reporter in southern Oregon. In the span of a year, my digging into the workings of a corrupt county assessor prompted a state investigation and a successful recall campaign. Another piece, which got a nod from SPJ, exposed a county commissioner of lying to the media about the reasons behind his personal bankruptcy. I eventually left that job with a new nickname: Slayer.

Later, while at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, I published a 5,000-word feature with TheAtlantic.com, which exposed how the NCAA allows universities to discard injured athletes, leaving them without medical care, insurance or even a diploma. The piece was a recipient of The Nation’s iFund grant and numerous other awards. What matters, though, it prompted a lawsuit.

And that is why I’m a journalist.

These days I work for the media start-up OZY. As a senior editor and writer, I continue to bear social justice issues and learn what it means to be a storyteller.