Preparing for the week

The outside of Sponsors looks more like a really fancy retirement home than a re-entry program

I’m super excited to get started on my Enterprise story. I will be doing a nice piece on Executive Director of Sponsors Paul Solomon, and his role in Eugene’s fight against high recidivism rates.

Solomon is a very interesting person because, much like many of the faculty members at Sponsors, he has a criminal record. It’s very rare to see someone with a felony turn out to have such a strong and positive role within a community, and it’s nice to see him constructing an environment that gives people a second chance.

In covering this story, I know I’ll have to do some stories on some really hard-knock guys. I’m excited to see what people went through to get to Sponsors, but I know I need to be considerate when I ask questions. People probably aren’t too comfortable telling some hot-headed journalist all about the struggles they endured, so I’ll need to assert that I am interested in them as humans and not as just sources.

I want to tie everyone that I meet at Sponsors to the recidivism rates in Eugene, Oregon, and the nation as a whole, and I’m thinking of a way to illustrate our prison industrial crisis without getting on my soapbox and nagging about it.

I have a lot of plans for how this story could be told. I could:

1) Take it from a client’s eyes and focus on his experience with the program and his life

2) Take it from Paul’s eyes and go more in-depth on the profile I previously did on him


3) Make it a profile of Sponsors as a whole and their relationship with the community, and Eugene.

Of course, I’ll want to incorporate elements of all three in my piece, but I’ll need to make the decision as to what will be my core focus. I guess it all depends on what feels right as I’m doing my work.

This will be one of the most in-depth pieces I have done thus far in my writing career. I’m nervous about busting out that much on one topic. I hope that I can keep it flowing well enough that it won’t have any slow sections. I know that many enterprise stories have a let’s-get-all-the-boring-crap-out-of-the-way subhead of the story that seems to force-feed the whole point of the narrative. I’m going to see if there is any possible way I can smoothly get all my stats and narrative elements to work without any boring blocks.

I am thrilled to bring Sponsors to life, and I hope everything works out according to plan — but, then again, some of the best stories happen when things go terribly wrong…

About Tyree Harris

Tyree Harris is a basketball hobbyist whose unstoppable left-handed floater is officially a thing of the past. To compensate, he's added 20 pounds of chub to his frame and became the shortest back-to-basket player in all of Los Angeles.
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