During her first few months as a reporter at The New York Times, Helena Andrews was a few weeks into work when she learned that her husband had walked into a D.C. police station to tell them that she had gone missing. The development hit her hard.
Just two days later, during a visit to the nearby Roland Park area, she learned that she had been found. She had apparently not gone to her place of work but had ventured out on her own, walking along an alley. Her hair was in a bun. As she walked to her car, a man grabbed her by the shoulder and threatened her with his fists. She called out, frightened. He then ran off and she picked up her phone and dialed the police. In those first moments, she was unsure whether she was the same person who had left the district on foot two months before. Still, she had a bad feeling.
Earlier this year, in the aftermath of yet another shooting of a young black person in Washington, she traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to track down a crime story. She wanted to do something in her hometown that used video to tell a story. So she cold-called a comedian named Harris Wittels to help her. Together, they decided to put together a series of short films, that were then parodied by Jay-Z. When the film crew got back to D.C., news broke that Harris Wittels had died from an apparent overdose. Though she hadn’t gotten to tell him that he had died, she couldn’t stop thinking about the inspiration for the film series he had been working on. “I want to honor his memory,” she wrote in her farewell note to Times readers.
Now that she’s headed to Los Angeles, for a new assignment with the same newspaper, Andrews writes in a farewell note to her fellow Times readers for Lifezette: “The experience of reporting for the Times has been extraordinary.” She says she’s leaving the newspaper, in part, because it’s been her work that’s helped her tremendously in a big way. But that’s no reason to stop dreaming big. “If I want to go to Los Angeles, I can go to Los Angeles.”
Full article on Lifezette, a New York Times-owned digital vertical focusing on cultural trends, quotes author Walter Isaacson.