If you’re a regular reader of The Gazette, you may have noticed some new reporter bylines in recent days.
Three new ones, in fact.
It’s been a while since we’ve made three new hires all at once, so it feels like a group introduction is in order.
Brian Lee, Shenandoah Briere and Ashley Onyon come to us from various points of the compass — Brian from Massachusetts, Shenandoah from New York’s Southern Tier and Ashley from nearby Amsterdam.
All three have hit the ground running over the past few weeks, bolstering our news staff at the main office on Schenectady’s Northside.
Their arrivals have provided a welcome boost as we enter year two of the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the turmoil and news that’s associated with it.
Without further ado, let me tell you a little bit about who they are and what they’ll be doing at The Gazette:
Brian is our new Schenectady City Hall reporter. It’s one of our most important beats, if not the most important. It involves day-to-day reporting on the heart of our coverage area.
As the job description says, Brian’s beat is centered around the city’s historic City Hall on Jay Street and the officials and employees inside.
He’ll be covering virtually all aspects of the city’s governance — everything from regular City Council and Planning Commission meetings to the annual assessment Grievance Day.
But there’s much more to the City Hall beat. Brian will become our primary set of eyes and ears trained on life in the Electric City. He’ll report on economic development news and community redevelopment efforts and also crucial social issues such as poverty and crime.
Fortunately, Brian is no stranger to these subjects or the demands of a challenging beat. He has journalism degrees from UMass-Amherst (undergraduate) and Northeastern University (master’s degree) and he comes to us from Worcester, Massachusetts, where he spent 16 years as a hard-news reporter for the Telegram & Gazette.
Worcester is an old industrial town similar to Schenectady, with many of the same problems and issues.
While there, Brian did countless stories about some of society’s biggest ills like homelessness, urban blight and murder.
As a Boston native and a lifelong Massachusetts resident, Brian is a diehard fan of some of Boston’s most popular teams, including the Patriots, Celtics and, of course, Red Sox. While he’s fully aware that he’s now in mostly Yankees and Giants country, he does have his limits: “I prefer that no one talk about the Super Bowls in 2008, 2012, or Aaron Boone,” he says, good-humoredly referencing three times that New York’s sports teams got the better of Boston’s in post-season games.
Shenandoah is our new Schenectady County reporter. It’s another one of our most important beats. Along with Brian, she becomes part of a vital two-reporter team that blankets the county with coverage.
Shenandoah, who more informally goes by Shenan, will focus on the county’s government, its various departments (highway, social services, DMV etc.) and the sizable 1,400-plus-employee workforce. Her beat also includes the county’s outlying towns of Glenville, Niskayuna, Rotterdam, Princetown, Duanesburg and the villages of Scotia and Delanson. As such, Shenan’s coverage territory includes a big swath of Gazette readers, subscribers and advertisers.
A 2017 graduate of SUNY Oswego, Shenan comes to us after stops at two smaller newspapers. After college, she reported for a weekly newspaper in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. From there, she moved back closer to home to join the Cortland Standard in Cortland County, New York. There, she established herself as an aggressive reporter covering crime, general news and later government, winning two top statewide journalism awards in her first year.
Ashley is our new Amsterdam City Hall reporter for The Gazette-owned daily newspaper in that city, The Recorder. In that capacity, she’s responsible for covering all facets of the city’s governance. She’ll also be covering issues surrounding some of the city’s biggest challenges including blight, poverty and a dwindling tax base.
In addition to her work for The Recorder, Ashley’s reporting on Amsterdam and Montgomery County will occasionally appear on the pages of The Gazette.
Already, Ashley is well acquainted with the Capital Region and the Gazette’s readership area. She’s a graduate of Averill Park High School in Rensselaer County and the University at Albany. She’s had reporting jobs in Ballston Spa and Amsterdam and, most recently, at The Leader-Herald in Gloversville. Over the years, she’s been a frequent visitor to Schenectady, where she’s come for film events at Proctors.
As a classic movie buff, she’s a big fan of viewing experience at the historic theater in downtown Schenectady.
“Before the pandemic, I enjoyed going to film events at Proctors,” she told me. “The first time I saw ‘Double Indemnity’ it was in the main theater at Proctors when they were screening titles from the ‘Film 100: The American Film Institute Essential’ list. I can’t think of a better place to view a classic film than in a classic theater.”
Miles Reed is editor of The Daily Gazette.
CONTACT OUR NEW REPORTERS
EMAIL: [email protected]
Shenandoah (Shenan) Briere
EMAIL: [email protected]
EMAIL: [email protected]
PHONE: (518) 395-3131
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