These sample are from my days prior to working at My Microsoft coverage can be found at To request more writing samples, e-mail njeaton[at]gmail[dot]com.


Cougars believe in how they’re doing it

The Spokesman-Review | March 22, 2008
Sports, feature

When Washington State basketball player Robbie Cowgill steps up to the free-throw line, he talks to God.

“That’s probably the most time when you get to sit and think about this shot, and how important this shot is,” Cowgill said. “It’s nice to kind of remind yourself, and talk to God, ‘Here’s who you say I am, whether I miss this or make it.’

“It really takes pressure off yourself at the line.”

Liberian loving life in Pullman

The Spokesman-Review | Sept. 15, 2007
Public safety, feature

Liberia is still recovering from a violent civil war from 1989 to 1996. In 1990, [Ahmad] Kamara’s family had a farm in rural Bong County, but he went to Monrovia for high school. When the war escalated, he went to stay with his brother in Guinea. When he returned three years later to his six other siblings, his mother told him of the violence rebels had brought upon the family.

They raped Kamara’s mother. They raped one of his sisters. They shot [his father] and slit his throat, throwing his body into a river like so many other Liberians.

“They don’t have graves,” Kamara said through tears. “The grave is the river.”

By night, he’s a wacko in TV ads

Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Aug. 3, 2006
Business, feature

Some people don’t like the commercials, [Rob] Thielke said. He’ll get calls from people — mostly outside the target audience — who say the ads are disgusting or offensive. “I ask them what’s offensive about it, and they can’t come up with anything,” he said. “It’s just weird.”

Another recent ad campaign drew unenthusiastic attention from “a major law firm in Washington, D.C.” Now, Vern Fonk Insurance is replacing the green lizard Thielke chokes on billboards with an alligator.

But that’s what Thielke likes: creating a stir. If GEICO notices, other people do as well.

Spokane man charged in Alaska attack

The Spokesman-Review | Nov. 4, 2007
Public safety, investigation

[Michael] Blanchard felt the spike slice into his back. He yelled and flipped over. The 24-year-old man jumped on him, straddled him, trying to stab him, but Blanchard fought back, he told police.

His yells woke up 17-year-old Brian O’Reilly, and the boy ran upstairs toward the tumult. Blanchard had wrestled the marlin spike away from [Justin] Bullock, who wrapped his hands around the captain’s neck, reports say.

The three struggled. At one point, Bullock pulled two smaller knives from his back pocket and slashed at Blanchard’s throat, police say.

Sasquatch settle for seconds

The Spokesman-Review | March 3, 2008
Sports, deadline

When all the ceremony was done, and the Sasquatch men were handed their trophy, they all walked into a curtained-off area under the bleachers – and cried.

They had lost.

A 30-win season cut short. A loss – only their second – when a win was needed most. The NWAACC championship trophy in the hands of Yakima Valley Community College, thanks to a 66-65 victory Sunday for the Yaks.

All the Sasquatch had was a glass second-place memento and a lot of memories.

Two tech firms battle over 13 employees

Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Aug. 3, 2006
Business, investigation

In February [2006], Calence LLC sued competitor Dimension Data Holdings PLC, alleging that Dimension Data stole all but one employee from Calence’s 14-strong Redmond office. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, claims that when the employees followed their general manager to populate a new Dimension Data office, some took proprietary information that gives Dimension Data an unfair advantage in Seattle.

It is one of four similar lawsuits filed against Dimension Data since September.

Calence general counsel Joe Hamilton said that pattern shows “a practice that is not only unlawful, but planned.”

Happy landing: Last home game a doozy

The Spokesman-Review | Sept. 6, 2008
Sports, deadline

Thousands of people picked the Spokane County Interstate Fair over the Indians’ game next door for their entertainment Friday.

They picked the wrong venue.

Game 2 of the Northwest League championship series went 10 innings before Spokane prevailed 11-10 over Salem-Keizer, giving the teams a split of the first two games of the best-of-5 series.

It was 10 innings full of hits, mistakes, home runs, beaned batters, controversial calls and an ejected Volcanoes manager.

To top it off, S-K skipper Tom Trebelhorn protested the game.

Dorm patrols raise constitutional concerns

The Daily Evergreen | Oct. 11, 2006
University administration, watchdog

“I’m not basing my decision on that [law],” [Judge David] Frazier said in a May 19 hearing. “I’m basing my decision on the Constitution of the United States of America and the Washington State Constitution, which prohibits unlawful searches and seizures.”

He said the issue is more of a Washington constitutional issue than [a Revised Code of Washington] issue. That RCW was unrelated to the [Washington Administrative Code] the Board of Regents changed under emergency rules in September.

WSU changed the WAC to “undo the judge’s interpretation” that students had a reasonable expectation of privacy in dorm hallways, [assistant attorney general Kristen] Berens said.

Recyclers steel themselves

The Spokesman-Review | June 10, 2007
Business, daily

Two weeks ago, somebody stole a quarter-mile-long copper electricity wire from [Dan Herring’s] Quincy-area alfalfa farm. It cost him nearly $15,000 to get his irrigation system back up and running.

So he started patrolling his land several times every night in his pickup truck. Last week, he caught a thief red-handed, loading sections of copper wire into a car – another $15,000 gone.

The crook got away, even after Herring shot at the car’s grill and ran the car off the road. But not before Herring got a good look at his former employee.

Chimney fire damages rural home

The Spokesman-Review | Nov. 1, 2007
Breaking news, deadline

Two jack-o’-lanterns grinned mischievously from Margaret Terry’s deck as firefighters stomped in and out of her ranch house. White smoke soared into the cold Halloween air, fueled by small flare-ups of flames that spiked off the roof.

Terry stood back from the house, comforted by three of her friends and kept warm by her New York Giants jacket. Her emotions flashed from distress to disbelief, crying one moment and laughing the next.

“I’ve been here since 1989,” she said. “That’s my whole life right there, and now it’s burned up.”


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