Sean Oates

Web Editor , The Record

Woodland Park, N.J.

[NJ-E 0301]

When I worked on the toxic legacy project, it carries a lot of meaning for me to this day and reminds me of why I’m involved in something as crazy as covering the news.

There is something about changing what was the status quo – by simply shedding light on information that can make a huge difference in people’s lives and had you not done it that difference would not have been made – and when I started working on that project I was in a junior position at the company. It became clear to me, in the aftermath of what we had published, that the folks who lived among the polluted sites were now being noticed. And in some cases were getting healthcare paid for and were getting assistance and their stories were being heard. That really brought it home for me.

And my experience – after I moved on from this company and tried something different, which I had done for many reasons – who wouldn’t want to live in California – living in California and working in a role in which my role was basically to cultivate pop-culture video – red carpets and artist interviews and musicians and all the fun stuff – I thought I was missing out on for a long time.

I found that I missed that element of true local impact that – although I loved what I did and it was fun and I learned an awful lot – there’s something about coming back to the place I grew up, and every day being a part of something that keeps an eye on things – that you just can’t beat with all the glitz and glamour in the world.

So a combination of having worked on some great projects like the pollution project and then having worked on the other side of the business and on the other side of the country and coming back, that really sort of gels for me, you know, why it is that I’m drawn to this kind of work.