Awake in the Night

A story on the immigrant experience: Mary Kuanen and her family relocated to Denver, Colorado from Sudan to escape a civil war and humanitarian crises. Kuanen’s husband, Youn, was murdered in their suburban neighborhood, and she and her children have been trying to heal and build a better life for themselves.

Source: 5280 Magazine
Published: Dec 7, 2016
Length: 22 minutes (5,676 words)

How Massive Cuts Have Remade The Denver Post

Behind-the-scenes at an award-winning newspaper, gutted by staff cuts and figuring out how to survive with fewer resources.

Source: 5280 Magazine
Published: Sep 28, 2016
Length: 24 minutes (6,158 words)

How One Colorado Man Disappeared While Hunting For Hidden Treasure

A man goes missing near Santa Fe, New Mexico after searching for an eccentric arts and antiquities collector’s buried treasure.

Source: 5280 Magazine
Published: Jul 26, 2016
Length: 30 minutes (7,525 words)

The Accidental Senator

On Michael Bennet’s unlikely path to senator, and what’s next for the man many are saying could be Hillary’s pick for running mate.

Source: 5280 Magazine
Published: May 1, 2015
Length: 20 minutes (5,210 words)

No Man’s Land

A story about our broken immigration system. Conflicting state and federal laws have prevented José Espino-Paez—and thousands like him—from becoming legal residents.

Source: 5280 Magazine
Published: Apr 1, 2015
Length: 35 minutes (8,865 words)

Anywhere But Here

A lucky few have escaped from prison once—Douglas Alward has made it out seven times.

Source: 5280 Magazine
Published: Oct 1, 2014
Length: 7 minutes (1,881 words)

The Rising

Colorado residents recount surviving one of the worst natural disasters in Colorado history.

Source: 5280 Magazine
Published: Aug 31, 2014
Length: 24 minutes (6,189 words)

Walking Scar(r)ed

A new mother receives a difficult diagnosis:

As a journalist, I frequently dig into the darker corners of life in an effort to extract not just facts, but also truths. At work, I’m meticulously—and among my colleagues, comically and notoriously—organized with spreadsheets, binders of notes, and boxes of documents. I tend to leave this orderliness at the office, so when it came time to have my first child, I never made a birth plan. I didn’t read books. I hadn’t even researched what could go wrong during labor. I figured women had been doing this for millennia, I had a good medical team, and my son and I shared a mutual interest in our mutual survival.

Source: 5280 Magazine
Published: May 1, 2014
Length: 23 minutes (5,816 words)

The Girls Next Door

In 2012, President Barack Obama said the fight against human trafficking was “one of the great human rights causes of our time.” So why are so many Colorado children still being exploited?

Lipstick kisses stain the corners of the mirror. Open tubes of mascara, a rainbow of eye shadows, and a warm curling iron cover the counter of the pink bathroom. T-shirts, skirts, and heels are scattered on the couch and spread along the floor of the basement. Sixteen-year-old Susie discards an entire pile of tops before settling on a cropped T-shirt, jeans, and wedges. Her naturally curly black hair is stick straight, her nails are freshly manicured, and her youthful olive skin needs no makeup. She hums along to some current mid-’90s radio hits—Mariah Carey, Tupac, Biggie—and helps a friend apply yet another layer of eyeliner, while the giggles and chatter of two other girls, ages 15 and 16, fill whatever space is left in the cramped room.

Source: 5280 Magazine
Published: Apr 1, 2014
Length: 26 minutes (6,675 words)

Riders on the Storm

An examination of Colorado’s mental health care system after the Aurora theater shooting. The state passed a $25 million initiative to restructure its crisis system for mentally ill patients, but still has a lot of work to do:

Colorado has underfunded mental health care for decades. Exactly how much is uncertain because there are at least 34 separate mental health line items in the state budget. “At the state Legislature, we cut provider rates for Medicaid and for drug and alcohol [programs] in 2002, when we had the downturn,” says Moe Keller, who spent 16 years in the state Legislature and is now the vice president of public policy and strategic initiatives at Mental Health America of Colorado , the local outpost of a national group that advocates for mental wellness reform. “We cut beds, and we closed a couple of units around the state. We never really re-funded that when the economy came back.” Then in 2008, the state again cut Medicaid providers and closed more units along with consolidating and reducing services. “Today, the prison system is by default the largest behavioral health center,” Keller says. “Police are the first responders.”

Source: 5280 Magazine
Published: Nov 26, 2013
Length: 31 minutes (7,839 words)