Guest Blogger: Freelance Reporter Chris Welch on his Coverage of Wisconsin Flooding

Folks, I have a rare treat for you. Today I’d like to give the floor to freelance reporter Chris Welch, who has been covering the flooding in the state of Wisconsin. I had met Chris at a science fiction convention in Madison called OddCon where we were speaking on some of the same panels. Chris is the sort of guy that you’d like to hang around; he’s very personable and loves to write and speak about writing. In his first-ever blog post, Chris speaks from the heart, talking about what it’s like being a freelance reporter when a tragedy like the Wisconsin flooding occurs.

“They’re not talking about us.”

That statement, a frustration voiced by a Fort Atkinson resident about his flooded neighborhood, also provided a concise reason why writers like us write.

I’d like to thank Monica for the opportunity to guest-blog here. “Words on the Water” seems the most fitting place to blog on writing about floods and the stories surrounding those floods.

There’s a 30-county region of Wisconsin affected by various forms of saturation. But, as a freelance reporter for a small-town newspaper, I’m only concerned with one, Jefferson County. The newspaper covers three main cities here: Fort Atkinson, Jefferson and Whitewater (which is divided by Jefferson and Walworth Counties.)

Picture of Wisconsin Flooding in June 2008My usual beat is Whitewater, Wisconsin. It was spared major flooding, so my editors asked me to cover some flood-related stories, which affected the cities of Jefferson and Fort Atkinson most drastically.

Except half the stories I covered this week were other stories — stories that the flood did not have any affect on at all. Despite evacuated homes and businesses, there were other things people wanted to talk about. I’ll get to those in a moment.

The floods had their own tales, which were stories for me to tell.
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