Jeremy Burton


Jeremy G. Burton is a graduate of the University at Buffalo, where first and foremost he earned an unofficial education in journalism, though the official result was a B.A. in English.

A 2007 Summer Fellow at Poynter, Burton has interned at the Buffalo News, the Jewish Week, and the Plainview Herald.

After his sophomore year as news editor of UB's thrice-weekly undergrad newspaper, he was chosen to lead the Spectrum as its editor in chief. As editor, he continued to personally cover some of the UB community's most urgent stories while both managing the daily ins and outs and teaching a class for new writers.

He is currently reporting up a storm for the Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pa.

Personal Narrative – Jeremy Burton

Before I could think twice, the lie was out there, and I knew exactly why I told it.

I had been on the phone with my mom, rehashing the first weeks of journalism boot camp at the Poynter Institute, and we were talking about a story I wrote. It was called “Same God, different prayer book,” and it was about the challenge of fostering unity among Christian denominations.

My mom wanted to know what the story’s central character, a Presbyterian pastor named Bobby Musengwa, thought of the finished piece. Musengwa was a community leader who valued church unity but struggled to promote it, and I featured him prominently.

“I haven’t heard back from him yet,” I said.

What I failed to mention was that there was a good reason I hadn’t heard back. Read more


As his way of life fades, a fisherman endures

Bill Harris scans the water and palms the wheel of his boat as it rocks in the morning tide. He is looking for pompano, a fish that skips along the surface, and he steers toward a spot where he caught some last week.

The horizon tells Harris he’s in the right place, lined up with a house and two posts to his right and the leg of a bridge to his left. This is how Harris knows all his fishing spots. He doesn’t have a navigation system on board. After more than 50 years of fishing the bays around St. Petersburg, Fla., he has a thousand places memorized.

Harris scans again and waits.

“Those fish ain’t here,” he says.

He turns his boat to go catch bait instead — not as profitable as pompano, but these days it’s better than nothing. Read more


The changing shape of high school’s second chances

Summer school. Those two words used to carry weight — the threat of spending vacation months in a stuffy classroom, the risk of being held back.

Today, there’s no such thing in St. Petersburg, Fla. Summer school — that mandatory last chance — has been replaced by “Extended Learning.”

Classes are voluntary. No one is forced to go. Teachers are on hand as resources but not instructors, while students work at their own pace.

Anjelica Jackson, 16, is spending four mornings a week this summer in a classroom at Lakewood High School, repeating ninth-grade algebra. She got an F in the class two years ago, and though she is entering her junior year, she still needs that freshman math credit to keep up her average and graduate. Read more


Same God, different prayer book

Pastor Bobby Musengwa knows what churches can accomplish when united. He remembers apartheid South Africa, where Lutherans, Catholics, Presbyterians and Anglicans unified to defy segregationist law.

When apartheid ended in Musengwa’s home country, churches were a catalyst for equality.

But Musengwa, co-pastor at Maximo Presbyterian in St. Petersburg, Fla., also remembers that churches were part of the origins of the brutal segregation, denying worship and communion to blacks during the 1800s, laying the groundwork for the supremacist government of the 1900s.

“The church is guilty of both building a monster and killing it,” Musengwa says.

Last month, Musengwa was elected president of the St. Petersburg Ministerial Association, the city’s oldest such group, a cross-section of religious leaders who meet monthly. Turnout is small. For now, the association’s events and outreach are limited. Read more


An artful impact: article

Lynn Carol Henderson talks with her hands. When she speaks about her art, they weave and circle in front of her. When she tells stories, her fingers spread wide, raising the curtain on a world of myth and magic.

Her favorite tale is that of Inanna, a goddess reborn after journeying into the Sumerian underworld. There, Inanna meets her dark sister and is condemned to die. But friends rescue her, and her identity is restored.

When Henderson tells the story, her cadence pulses. She is in her home art studio, Enigma, a cluttered dome hidden in a scrabble of palmettos and pines on Fourth Street South in Pinellas Point, Fla. She lives for these little moments.

For Henderson, Inanna’s story resonates. It is a story about change, about facing the darkness and knowing our journeys will not be made alone. Read more