I know I'll never forget life as a reporter in 2020. As the Post-Dispatch general assignment reporter working mostly from my kitchen-table bureau this year, I covered the COVID-19 pandemic through the daily barrage of case totals and restriction changes. But it’s the interviews with family members who lost loved ones that I’ll remember the most. I’ll hold onto people like the Olwigs, a local couple who died on the same day from the virus after nearly 61 years of marriage while their family waited in the hospital parking lot, unable to be with them.
This summer I also covered the wave of protests calling for police accountability and delved into the issue of problem police officers getting re-hired at a local police department, St. Ann police, with little oversight.
The year also brought a wave of violence to St. Louis, putting the city on pace for its highest murder rate on record. Between covering individual cases and speaking to families of those killed, a team of us at the paper this year explored the issue of gun violence through the lens of one mile on the northside, speaking with families and neighbors who live with the toll.
But there were bright moments in 2020. I got to interview a man who rescued his pet python, Moses, when he escaped a burning building in Tower Grove South. While he was at it, he grabbed two Stag beers for the road.
And with the pandemic also came beautiful acts of community, like the two-man brass band that decided to walk through their Tower Grove neighborhood playing songs like “Stand By Me” when we were all sheltering-in-place and afraid in the early days of the outbreak.
It’s moments like those that make me love covering St. Louis, even in hard times.