Darel La Prade

Senior VP of New Media, Delaware State News

Dover, Del.

[DE-E 0301]

I was the editor of a weekly newspaper on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and it was in late July and the roads were clotted with traffic and the temperature was near a 100, and we were struggling to get that week’s issue out the door, trying to cover everything that needed to be covered.

And this woman walked in – whom I did not know, which was very odd for me because I knew everyone in the community. And she came in, and she was perspiring, she was hot, she was exhausted, and she said, “I’m going to have to close the shelter because I can’t pay my electric bill. I don’t have air conditioning, and I cannot keep it open.”

And so – for some reason – I mean it was such a good cause, and there were people – there were women – who were suffering – that needed the shelter. And to make a long story short, we wrote a series of stories – I wrote a series of stories about – the newspaper produced a series of stories about the problem of domestic violence in the small community. How it had been, essentially, swept under the carpet, and the role that this shelter played in the life of the community in saving these women.

And we – within about three weeks or four weeks – we had the shelter back on firm financial footing. We had a new board of directors in place. And there was all sorts of “who-hah” that took place.

It was just that moment where I understood what [journalism] was all about.