I’m a relatively new face here at the Salem Reporter.

I took the job here in June, refreshed to see a group of people so passionate about the information they were providing to the community.

I’m hoping that my reporting here serves as a balance. Yes, you need to hear about the crimes happening in your neighborhood, but I also want to show the good that’s happening.

Readers kept telling me about community events or activities, which helped start a weekly events roundup. Looking ahead, I want to hear more about what our readers are interested in. If you have an event that you think is pretty cool, drop me a line.

I want to know more about the people and places that make Salem unique. Is there a person you admire and want to know more? Something you drive by every day and have always wondered about? I want to tell these stories.

Capitol City Theater is at the nexus of Salem's comedy scene

I love to laugh. I’m usually the one in the office grinning at a silly joke I’ve just told or a spastic movement that I’ve found hilarious. When I saw a sign advertising a comedy show downtown, I knew I wanted to check it out. I admit I was surprised to find out there was a comedy scene in Salem, and maybe you were too.

Bolstered patrols lead to arrest of a suspect in several Salem shootings

This story took some digging. I was a crime reporter at my last job, so it’s an area that’s familiar to me. But what changes with each job is the amount of information agencies release. In Salem, for example, I had little to go on to provide answers as to why there had been a handful of shootings in just several weeks.

I requested document after document and finally found what I was looking for. A man identified as a shooting suspect in court documents.

Too hot to handle? A Salem reporter tries her luck at a hot wing contest

I had a lot of fun with this one. Oftentimes writing about the fair is a dreaded task. The labor is usually divided up among newsrooms, with each person tasked with writing about one day. My editor challenged me to think about the coverage in a different way – one that reflects the folly of the festivities themselves. So, I entered a hot wing eating contest and wrote about my near victory.

Downtown alleys will get historic monikers during naming process

When I found out there was an effort afoot to name multiple downtown alleyways, I knew it was something I wanted to learn more about. I could have just written about the naming project alone, but I kept going deeper to find out what sparked the idea in the first place. I also wanted to find out why the alley names weren’t going to become official streets, because businesses were already located along the cobblestone lined paths. I hope this story provided some answers to your burning questions.

Utility box panels give passersby a chance meeting with local history

Doing the research for the alleyway story led me to this. I spoke with the woman who did a lot of the historical research for the naming, and she had a lot of cool stories to tell. Like unearthing the history of Salem’s Chinatown. I love when I’m interviewing someone and get to say, “Oh wow, that’s really cool. Tell me more.”

Saphara Harrell covers events and breaking news for the Salem Reporter. She joined the news team after working at The News-Review in Roseburg as a public safety reporter. Reach her via email at [email protected]


On Salem Reporter's anniversary, thoughts of more local news coverage to come

After a year in Salem, reporter's faith in the power of journalism is revived

Getting story behind the story provides strong journalism for Salem

Watchdog work balances with Salem slice-of-life stories to keep reporter going