Some hockey coverage

I got the privilege of covering some Northeastern women’s hockey games this past weekend when The Huntington News’ normal beat writer was unable to make a pair of games. It was a fun change of scenery.

The then-No. 7 Northeastern women’s hockey team left nothing up to chance this weekend as it blew by the University of New Hampshire Wildcats 8-0 Saturday and the University of Vermont Catamounts 5-1 Sunday.

The team’s first offensive line had an especially productive weekend, scoring nine of the 13 Huskies goals, including two hat tricks.

Junior forward Casey Pickett scored a hat trick on Saturday and freshman Kendall Coyne put together three of her own goals Sunday, the Huskies’ first two hat tricks of the season and the first of Coyne’s career.

The Saturday game was a historic one for both teams as it was covered live on ESPN 3, making it the first-ever women’s hockey game on an ESPN station. A record crowd of 1,227 attended.

Read the rest at


In Haiti, a health care oasis


I wrote for Haiti Rewired about a new hospital in Central Haiti, finishing construction this year.

MIREBALAIS, Haiti – Officials and builders from Haiti, The Dominican Republic, and the United States gathered here Tuesday to celebrate the completion of phase one of construction on the Mirebalais National Teaching Hospital. The 320-bed facility, located just outside downtown Mirebalais, is the result of a collaborative effort between the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and Partners in Health, an American non-profit focused on international public health.

Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, spoke at the event about his first time in Haiti as a young medical student in 1983.

“The first year, let me tell you, was a terrible experience medically,” he said. Farmer recalled the disappointment he felt when he visited a clinic he was involved with. “[It was terrible] to go into a clinic that you were actually involved in running, as I was, and supporting, as I did ardently, but see that the quality of care was so poor that it would be a better idea to shut the clinic down, which is what we did.”

Farmer said that first year inspired a dream, which is being realized by the new hospital in Mirebalais.

Read the full article on Haiti Rewired.

Circle of Friends Haiti project wish list

My girlfriend Tori and I are headed to Haiti shortly after Christmas to spend a couple of weeks volunteering at an orphanage operated by a project called Circle of Friends. In advance of our trip, the folks in Haiti working at the orphanage sent us a list of supplies they’re in need of. If anyone cares to donate some money, clothing, or supplies from this list, it would be a huge help. We’ll bring them down to the orphanage who will put them to good use.

I realize it’s the holiday season and many people have probably already put a big dent in their bank accounts shopping for loved ones, but if you can spare some money or any of the following supplies, you’d make some difficult lives much easier:

  • Ryobi 18v power drill kit with a small set of wood and concrete drills and a small set of assorted drill bits. (Estimated cost: $175)
  • For Kids (used, washed) clothes: we need most urgently, 3 Boys: Ages 4, 10,12; underpants, sweatshirts, sweatpants, T-shirts, shorts, and pants. Crocs. The kids are typically a bit smaller than kids the same age in USA.
  • Women: Size 12/14 and size 10, sweatshirts, sweatpants, shirts/teeshirts, winter hats.
  • Toys/education materials; writing pads, notebooks, crayons, any mind stimulating toys.
  • For House:  some cheap towels, washcloths and twin sheets.
  • Large bottle of Aleve and Ibuprophen and children’s multi-vitamins.
Any and all help is appreciated. If you live in Central Vermont or the Burlington, Vermont area, we can likely arrange to pick up the items. If you can help, please email taylor.dobbs(at)gmail(dot)com.

New England independent news

During the Spring 2011 semester, I wrote for the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s e-Bulletin about independent online news sites around New England.

Disclosure: After I submitted this story to the e-Bulletin, I secured an internship with Anne Galloway at No plans were in place for that internship prior to or during my reporting for this story.

The story: Continue reading “New England independent news”

VTDigger Stories

Below is a list of the stories I wrote this summer (2011) for

VTDigger wrap up

The entrance to the VTDigger offices in Montpelier, Vt.

My first story for ran on May 11, 2011. Twelve weeks, 37 bylines, and 25,000 words later, my internship is finished.

I’m not in journalism because I aspired as a young boy to spend my mornings in the Vermont State House covering three-hour policy meetings and listening as lawyers debated for over 30 minutes the meaning of a single phrase.

But walking the streets of Montpelier and the hallways of state office buildings or wherever our governor’s next press conference might be, I learned my state from a different angle. One hopes that politicians see issues from the same side of an issue as everyone else, but they don’t. Lawmakers and lawyers will fight over the meaning of one simple phrase for 30 minutes because while it’s only a phrase to me, it’s the quality of life of hundreds or thousands of people who look to them, the government, for an answer.

I learned to see the governor, one of only fifty in America (an obvious fact that still brings me pause every time I step into the room with him), is human. A man who can make mistakes, but more importantly, make decisions because he feels in his gut – without always looking at numbers or bulleted lists or commission reports – that people need this. I grew up 0.47 miles from the governor’s office, but it took me 21 years and the right internship to realize this.

If I had to guess how many times I heard my editor, Anne Galloway, say “If you only take away one thing from this summer…” it’s definitely be more than just the once. But if I only take one thing away from this summer, really, it’s that no matter how much research I do, how many interviews I conduct, or how many meetings I attend, I’ll never write the perfect story. Writing alongside my fellow intern Eli Sherman (literally – we shared a desk), Anne, and the other journalists covering Vermont policy and politics, I saw stories written three different ways about the same thing. And I saw stories about three different things all come from a single event. Sometimes I’d see a story about an event I’d passed up and realize it would have been the best story I wrote all summer. The good stories aren’t always where you expect them, and the good become the best sometimes by chance and sometimes because of that one extra phone call.

People on the outside of VTDigger know Anne by her byline, the back of her head in press conference footage on the local evening news, or her phone calls. The only way to truly know an editor, though, is by dragging your chair into their office, sitting over their shoulder, and watching them tear apart – with a precision that to the untrained eye looks remarkably similar to reckless abandon – your day’s work. It took me a good few weeks to write a lede (the first sentence of a story) that Anne didn’t promptly delete. It was painful to watch much of the time, but the education I got looking over Anne’s shoulder as she restructured and reworked my stories was the best journalistic education I’ve had so far. And I go to a journalism school for upwards of $40,000 a year. Anne has an uncanny precision and ability to articulate exactly what the story is without sounding too convoluted or worse: making an incorrect statement in an effort to be direct. I feel lucky to have written for her this summer.

I learned more about photojournalism than I thought there was to know in the arena of taking pictures of press conferences and political meetings from Josh Larkin, VTDigger’s head honcho of technology, design, and photo (and cool hats, but he doesn’t put that on the business cards).

The newsroom, despite being roughly the same size as some of the jail cells we saw on our prison tour of Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt., was the best place I’ve ever worked. Walking in every morning, I was ready for something new and different. Almost every morning, I got it. From prison tours to digital nature walks to press conferences with the governor, every day was a new experience. If I began my summer with any doubt in my mind that I want to spend my life as a journalist, it has since disappeared.

VTDigger Introduction, Stories

Fellow intern Eli Sherman and I were introduced on VT Digger today, where we’ve been writing for about a week now. This week, I’ve written a few stories, listed below.


Story + video: Scott, House GOP agree with Democratic governor — Vermonters are taxed out – May 17, 2011

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, and House GOP members told reporters at press conference on Monday that like the Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, they don’t support raising taxes next year to resolve the state’s $70 million budget gap.

Scott wasn’t, however, ready to take a no new taxes pledge.

“Obviously, we don’t know what the federal government is going to do and until we see that we certainly don’t want to have (to cut) any catastrophic areas to those in need,” Scott said. “We all want to make sure we take care of those in need.”

New law makes “complete” streets a priority – May 24, 2011

It’s official: “Complete Streets” rules are now in play.

The Complete Streets Act, signed last week by Gov. Peter Shumlin, asks municipalities to make streets safer for pedestrians and bikers. The Vermont AARP was the lead advocate for the legislation, which is particularly aimed at making sidewalks and roads more user-friendly for older pedestrians. Under the new rules towns will be encouraged to incorporate modifications such as wheelchair ramps and extended crosswalk times into downtown transportation projects. In addition, towns and cities will be urged to install new sidewalks, re-stripe roads for bike lanes and add bus kiosks.

Shumlin signs veterans tax credit legislation – May 25, 2011

COLCHESTER, Vt. – Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the Veterans’ Tax Credit act at Camp Johnson today as Vermont National Guard members looked on.

The new legislation will give employers a $2,000 tax incentive to hire soldiers who have returned from deployments in Afghanistan or Iraq in the last two years. In order to qualify for the tax credit, businesses must employ veterans between now and the end of 2011. Veterans who start new companies this year can also apply for the benefit.

FCC report ranks Vermont 38th in broadband access – May 26, 2011

A Federal Communications Commission report released last week ranked Vermont 38th in the nation in broadband penetration.New Hampshire was in a three-way tie for the nation’s best cell and internet access with Alaska and Utah.

The International Broadband Data Report is released annually by the Federal Communications Commission in an effort to record and inform U.S. broadband development by comparing American broadband with coverage, speed, and pricing in other countries. This year’s report was released on May 20.

Shumlin’s decision to veto water safety bill perplexes proponents – May 30, 2011

MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin had a day of firsts last Thursday. Shortly after he inked the nation’s first single-payer health care legislation, Shumlin also vetoed his first bill, S.77, which would have mandated water testing for private wells.

The bill would have required all newly drilled wells intended for use as a potable water supply to undergo testing for contaminates. The same tests would have been required if such wells were sold.

Rep. David Deen, D-Putney, said he was “absolutely flabbergasted” when he learned that the governor planned to veto the bill.

Welch: Flood relief money for private companies, homeowners not likely – May 31, 2011 (Editor Anne Galloway contributed)

Congressman Peter Welch, D-Vt., arrived in Barre City Monday on a tour of the flash flood damage to central Vermont not long after the “crisis de jour,” as Mayor Thom Lauzon put it.

A mudslide on West Patterson Street early Monday morning took out a power pole and a large maple tree. Two nearby residences were inspected and one was evacuated. On Sunday, part of a granite retaining wall gave way and a fracture developed in the bank below Hilltop Avenue. Three residences on
Hilltop and four homes at the base of the slope on Kirk Street were evacuated. Co-op Internship

I’m honored to have been chosen as a co-op at, where I’ll be working in the features section doing everything from tweaking HTML to writing travel stories. I’ll be starting in August and working with them full-time through December.

It’s an exciting time to be in the newsroom, as will be dividing into two sites: free content will continue to be available at, but content from The Boston Globe will go behind a paywall at I’m excited to see how these changes are reflected in the newsroom and how the paywall works out for The Boston Globe.

More in August!

TWE: Tufts Students Follow WikiLeaks’ Example

On The World Exposed, Friday, April 15 and Associated Content April 29:

Will Ramsdell sits at his desk, the windowsill in front of him cluttered with potted plants, a box of floppy disks at his feet. A beige PC monitor behind him pointlessly flickers between a bright array of colors. But Will’s focus isn’t on his plants or his technological work of art. His focus is on his MacBook, the only evidence in the dorm room that the 21st century has already begun, and Ramsdell and the organization he represents are part of it.

Ramsdell is working on JumboLeaks, a student-run document leaking site for Tufts University documents. As he works, he chatters on about the nature of the internet, the philosophy behind leaks, and what JumboLeaks is about.

JumboLeaks launched on April 2, 2011 with the release of what they say is a leaked list of companies in which Tufts had direct holdings. On the list was Monsanto Corporation, Goldman Sachs Group, and Lockheed Martin, companies noted on the site as “ethically suspect.”

As tuition-paying students, Ramsdell and the small group of five or six students that started JumboLeaks are concerned about where their money is going.

“In a capitalist society, money is a vote,” Ramsdell says, noting that universities aren’t democracies, nor do they claim to be. The hope for JumboLeaks, he says, is to push Tufts towards a more democratic system.

The reference to democracy-by-leaking draws a noticeable parallel to WikiLeaks, but JumboLeaks and WikiLeaks have their differences. Though JumboLeaks calls itself “a little Wikileaks for Tufts,” the goals of JumboLeaks aren’t totally in line with those of WikiLeaks. While WikiLeaks hopes to eradicate secrecy from governing bodies and totally eliminate the ability of these groups to conspire, JumboLeaks isn’t so extreme.

“There definitely is room for secrecy in almost all instances,” says Ramsdell, but “deciding what should be private and what should be public is almost impossible.” Ramsdell and JumboLeaks, though, prefer information – especially about the money they and their peers are spending – to be public.

Click here to read more on Associated Content.