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Everyone Has a Story

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Writing Studies: Random Person Project

The Random Person Project is UMD Assistant Professor John Hatcher’s attempt to prove that everyone has a story worth telling. Hatcher was inspired to begin this project by David Johnson, a newspaper reporter for the Lewiston Morning Tribune in Lewiston, Idaho. For over twenty years, Johnson picked people at random from his local phone book and wrote about them.

Each year, Hatcher assigns his students the task of contacting, interviewing, and writing a story about one person they have never met before. He admits it isn't always easy for students to find someone willing to speak to them. However, those that do share often relate compelling stories of adversity and accomplishment. Here are just a few of the people interviewed this year and their stories. You can read more articles at LakeVoice.

LakeVoice is an online publication produced by the Editing 2 class at UMD. The LakeVoice newsroom is run by students and the content is written by students, but the news is about the community. LakeVoice strives to be a bridge between the UMD campus and the Twin Ports community.

Troy McDonald with daughter Emma
McDonald family fights to build playground in Proctor for disabled children
by Lauren Renneke

Troy and Jennifer McDonald’s four-year-old daughter, Emma, has spina bifida. The McDonald family is now leading the charge to build a playground in Proctor that is safe for children with disabilities.

Joe McDonell
Duluth soldier deals with challenges of coming home from war
by Jessica Peterson

Duluth veteran Joe McDonell struggles to become accustomed to his life back home after serving his country in Afghanistan.

Bryon Maslow
Isanti man keeps trucking along

by Bailey Toland

25-year-old Bryon Maslow from Isanti explains how he came to be a truck driver.


Taylor Saxon
Former Two Harbors student recounts being bullied

by Lisa Mattson

Taylor Saxon looks back on her decision to drop out after the ninth grade and get her GED.

Rand Sola
UMD Graduate becomes multi-business owner

by Brett Adkins

Rand Sola owns several businesses, including the Original Coney Island, the second oldest restaurant in Duluth.


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