With all the news about immigrants ... I wanted to hear from those who come from other countries and volunteer to serve in the U.S. Army.
I worked through the US Department of Immigration and my sources at Fort Bragg to find five soldiers. Each shared a unique perspective on why and how they came to the United States.
I worked with photographer Andrew Craft to put this package together.
Besides our words and photos, Andrew and I created a multimedia project for online.
I recorded audio from all five of my interviews and selected sound bites that were played on top of Andrew's portraits. This way, the viewer could click on the photo and hear from the soldier - in his own words. This worked for this project since each of them had a slight accent from their native country.
You can read and listen to the story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/special/citizenship/
The lawyers for alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl are hoping the military's highest court will partially lift a stay on his court-martial proceedings.
The story broke late Friday night.
These legal documents were - as usual - a beast to get through. (I feel like by the end of this court-martial I'll know everything there is to know about fancy military court phrases and rarely-used military court strategies). But once I was able to "dumb down" the legal jargon, it was pretty easy to understand: his attorneys want the military's highest court to do what they asked the appellate court to do. They want the stay lifted for all matters not related to classified documents. The appellate court denied that request earlier this week.
So the defense team turned the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
Not a huge development in the case, but it's something the Observer was able to offer our readers.
To my knowledge, no other media outlet has stayed on the case step by step like we have. I'm proud to stay on the case as it develops because I want our readers to know, when something breaks on the Bowe Bergdahl court-martial, they can go to fayobserver.com and see a complete, thorough and accurate story.
You can read the full story here:
Presidential candidate Donald Trump has talked about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl a few times - and Bergdahl's defense team isn't thrilled about the comments.
There wasn't any earth-shattering breaking news from my mini-Bergdahl beat today (other than a motion the defense filed was denied), so I used the time to enterprise. I dove a little more into the documents his defense team has been filing & their attachments.
One thing that stuck out to me - his defense team was tracking each time Trump made a comment about Bergdahl on a national stage. And they were using that as a way to push the judge to overturn the protective order barring the release of Bergdahl's interview with Army investigators. His lawyers told me that the interview would be a way to combat the barrage of negative publicity, most notably of which, was coming from Trump.
I scored an exclusive interview with Bergdahl's civilian lawyer Eugene R. Fidell.
You can read the full story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/military/bergdahl-team-pushes-for-release-of-interview-public-trial/article_71cd2011-ce51-54b8-8fbc-95edd5eccbed.html
Above: An excerpt from the defense's motion to overturn the protective order.
Above: Bergdahl's lawyers have started a log tracking each time presidential candidate Donald Trump makes comments about the soldier. Their log includes 28 entries, from April 9, 2015 to Jan. 20, 2016.
I obtained copies of the latest development in the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl case late on Wednesday, and dove right into them.
The legal jargon was tough to wade through, so I called in for help: Paul Woolverton. He's the Observer's state legislature reporter, and former court reporter. He helped me get through the jargon and knew who to call when it stumped even him.
We worked together to translate the legal mumbo jumbo of a 100+ page motion into something our readers could easily understand.
The defense team for alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Wednesday called the stay of his court-martial unfair and said it will undermine public confidence in the trial.
In a motion filed in the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals, Bergdahl's lawyers asked to have a stay on the proceedings partially lifted.
Read the entire story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/military/bergdahl-lawyer-soldier-being-treated-unfairly/article_1932c679-513b-57c9-a459-d07a3b1a937e.html
Doesn't it always happen that the biggest news of the day breaks as you inch closer to deadline?
I've been covering the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for the Observer for a few months now. And after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, I obtained a copy of a petition filed by the prosecution that would halt the case.
The document was a beast - 73 pages, filled with legal jargon. (Anyone know what a writ of prohibition is?) So I dived right into it and immediately put out calls and emails. I was able to talk to a former military JAG on background who could help me break through the jargon. That helped me as I eased into interviews with Bergdahl's lawyers. In the end, neither wanted to comment on the record.
Although it was a bit daunting on deadline, I made it through the documents- and was able to give our readers insightful details not reported by other outlets who obviously didn't read through the documents. (For example, Bergdahl's lawyers argued the prosecution only gave them access to 900 pages of classified documents, yet said there were more than 300,000 pages of classified documents).
You can read the full story here: http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/bergdahl-case-suspended-in-disagreement-over-classified-documents/article_07f76299-435f-5289-8ad1-5a3df28823f9.html
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.