As a prize-winning veteran journalist, I have covered hard news and soft: Presidential hopefuls; statehouse lawmakers; hometown heroes; time-honored and pop celebrities; floundering schools in Appalachia; New Feminism’s younger adherents; juveniles on death row; the fight for running water on an outlying Mississippi road.

Ms., Vibe, The Crisis, Odyssey Couleur, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, New Orleans Times-Picayune, and Toronto Star are among those that have published my work. For 2010’s relaunched Jet, I write a twice-monthly column. On Essence magazine’s masthead, I’m listed as a contributing writer. I file regularly for news organizations including DailyYonder.com, SHRM.org, TheRoot.com, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education and Newsday in New York, where I previously spent 16 years full time, ultimately as a senior writer on assorted aspects of society, culture and lifestyle, from a post-Hurricane Katrina meditation on home and place to musings about the convergence of religious certainty and spiritual doubt. My articles have run alongside my photojournalism for The Daily Yonder and Diverse. Here & Now, a daily broadcast on National Public Radio, has run my photos on its Web site: http://www.hereandnow.org/2010/03/rural-water.

   



The view from thousands of feet above ground is fields, streams, rock quarries and one prodigious, whirling river. The sky is dusty blue, the early evening sun high and conquering. Each section of earth below is distinct in color and geometry. Squares, pentagons and isosceles triangles, snaking lines and bone-straight trajectories across the city's edge [My] forehead is smashed against the windowpane of seat 16A as the plane descends. My eyes are on land below that I claim as my own... For more of this Newsday essay, click here

Word came last October that the federal government had earmarked more than half the required financing to hook up 10 homes on a Mississippi back road to the municipal water system in the city of Ruleville, six minutes away by car. As lead hell-raiser in the 7-year-old battle to get potable water piped to his snatch of Drew-Ruleville Road ever since the local well gave out, Robert Martin was glad to hear the news. But he didn't get overly optimistic … For more of this TheRoot.com article, click here

At the close of his quarter-century of winding through New York’s prisons, former Black Panther Eddie Ellis walked away in 1994 with four college degrees he earned while incarcerated and kept treading his singular path as an activist on the joint issues of police, courts, crime and punishment. As he had done in prison, he organized felons and former felons. He conducted community workshops, lectured and lobbied. In 2000, before conferees who, except for him, were white criminologists and law enforcement officials, Ellis dared to ask how, given the topics at hand, he was the solitary ex-prisoner and sole black among the invited analysts ... For more of this Diverse: Issues in Higher Education article, click here

… She’s on a conference call with the Win Without War steering committee, deciding precisely how they will respond when the 2,000th member of the U.S. military perishes in Iraq. “I think we’re up to 1,963,” says [Susan] Shaer, putting the phone on mute to make an aside. “Oh, my God! This probably is going to happen next week.”  She wades in once more: “We’re also going to honor all the Iraqi deaths. Do we have a reliable number on that?“... For more of this Ms. article, click here

Eugene Clark answers his office telephone with a robust hello, and then, begging the incoming caller’s pardon, momentarily vents. “One of our students graduated last February,” began Clark, director of veteran enrollment services at Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York. “The jobs he’s been applying for prefer candidates with master’s degrees. He wants the VA to [financially] support his continued education so he can get that master’s degree. Each time he submits paper work to the VA, the VA asks for another document. They haven’t said ‘no,’ but there have been these delays.”... For more of this SHRM.org article, click here

The overnight sensation enters from stage left, hand-in-hand with the movie-maker who kick-started her stardom. Far from the misery of her image on the Big Screen, Gabourey Sidibe’s face is glossed and powdered and pretty as it wants to be. As fly girls of a certain generation say, it is “beat,” aglow in Hollywood success and Sidibe’s self-satisfaction ... For more of this Jet Column, click here

... For a painful string of years Bernice King endured the recurring nightmare, which she ultimately reasoned was the marker of her accumulated grief. She had been a famously, suddenly fatherless child, forever surrounded by people staking their claim to her slain, hugely public parent. "My attitude was, 'Why does everybody have to come to the crypt with us?'" says King. "'Why do we have to share him? He is my dad.'"... For more of this Essence article, click here

As businesses increasingly cross geographic and cultural borders to build their brand, they must function less like a profit-hungry interloper and more like a good neighbor. Watching the bottom line while addressing everyday concerns of people in emerging markets—especially ones that are potentially politically and economically volatile—can pay off ... For more of this SHRM.org article, click here

“My Times in Black White: Race and Power at the New York Times,” the late Gerald M. Boyd’s January 2010 memoir, includes my vignette among several remembrances from contributors who personally knew the Pulitzer Prize-winner and former Times managing editor. Follow the book tour and veteran journalist Robin Stone, Boyd’s widow, who edited the memoir posthumously, on Facebook.

 

   



Please send your queries and feedback to Katti@KattiGray.com.

         

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