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Dream Job Begins with Trial by Fire

UCM alumnus Nate Taylor starts a sports writing career with one of the biggest stories of a generation

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"I really never thought I'd work for The New York Times, or even thought it was possible," he said. "Since I was in high school, my dream always had been to work for The Kansas City Star. I wanted to be around people like (Joe) Posnaski and (Jason) Whitlock. There are so many great writers there."

Taylor's interest in writing blossomed as a senior at Hickman Mills High School under the encouragement of his journalism teacher, Karen Black. The desire to write followed him to UCM, where he worked for the Muleskinner.

In addition to writing about legendary UCM and University of Kansas Coach Phog Allen and meeting his future wife, Holly Wright, a 2010 UCM graduate now is a New York designer, the connections Taylor built at UCM turned into opportunities. This included covering high school sports as a freelance writer for The Sedalia Democrat and The Kansas City Star, and internships with publications such as the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., and The Quad City Times in Davenport, Iowa. Such experiences also led to a three-month internship with the Boston Globe in June 2010, then his first full-time job with The Raleigh News & Observer.

In Raleigh, Taylor shared the inspiring story of Emily Newton, a 16-year-old star high school athlete who fought to overcome a rare genetic disorder to return to the basketball court. The story touched him personally, and it grabbed his future employer's attention when he shared with The New York Times.

"The story is framed around Emily trying to rediscover and find herself after surgery and the traumatic situation she went through," Taylor said. "It is the first story I wrote as a professional that got on the front page of a newspaper."

Taylor created a new friendship with Newton's family, even accompanying them to church. Her father was among the first to get the message about Taylor's new job.
"Thank you for your willingness to let me tell Emily's story," went Taylor's call to Richard Newton. "I'm going to The New York Times ,where I can tell other stories like hers."

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