Tribune story on heroin overdose hits home — Meaningful stories like this one keep me involved in journalism

Panel discusses issue of heroin in collar counties

February 27, 2014|By Sheryl DeVore, Special to the Tribune

Steve Lunardi, Jr., recently told a standing-room-only crowd in Lake Forest how he started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana while attending Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, and then became a heroin addict.

“It took over my life… It’s truly a miracle that I am here today,” he told an audience of more than 150 at the Gorton Community Center.

For the rest of the story, click here.

Journalist Tip No. 2 — Avoid one-source stories

Unless you are writing a question and answer story, use at least two sources for your stories. Here’s why: Each person you interview has his or her own view of the world and his or her part in it — plus he or she may not remember all the events quite right — A second source gives you a chance to fact check as well as add another perspective to the story. The writing is richer; the reader is more interested and is then motivated to think about his or her perception as well, making the entire experience more intimate and memorable. I recently wrote an article about an organization that helps those with disabilities participate in sports. The person in charge, though an excellent interview, did not have any disabilities. I asked to speak to someone who participates and has disabilities and that interview gave me a great lead for the story — and brought the reader in to hear personal accounts. Don’t be lazy — go to more than one source — you’ll be glad you did — and I suspect, so will your editor.

Winter drives sea ducks farther inland: Story I wrote for the Chicago Tribune on front page


Brutal winter drives sea ducks farther inland in Chicago area

Arkadi Romanov has seen hardy sea ducks withstand frigid waters in his native Russia. But the Glenview man never expected to see one emerge from 6 inches of snow at Beck Lake dog park in Des Plaines, about a dozen miles from Lake Michigan.

Nor did he and Chris Anchor, a wildlife biologist with the Cook County Forest Preserve District, expect to discover dozens more scoters dead beneath the snow at the dog park and a park in Glenview.

For the entire story, visit:


Photo by Tribune ( Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune / February 14, 2014 ) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Journalist Tip No. 1 — ACCURACY

Second-hand and third-hand sources are not reliable. You’ve got to make that extra call to confirm facts — Here’s an example —
I found out an interesting story about a man whose dog pointed to a duck that was buried in the snow — the second hand source told me the dog dog up the duck with its paws. But the owner of the dog, whom I called later, told me the dog stood and pointed at where the duck was — had I not called him, I would have written inaccurate information. You need to go to the source and get the accurate information! And remember, not everything you read on the Internet is true! Call to confirm!

Soul Searching

Greetings friends, lovers of nature, art, writing — all the beautiful things in life. The past few days I have been doing what makes my soul happy –writing articles about entertainment, nature and other topics for Chicago area publications. It’s not rewarding financially, but oh so rewarding spiritually. Remember to do what you need to do to make money, but always find time for your soul.

I’ll link to some of my stories here and also blog about life, nature and all that’s important in life.

Thanks for reading,


Sheryl DeVore

Natural Editions