Whitney Helm

Freelancer Reporter


Whitney Helm

Every great interview starts with a simple question, my desire is to seek knowledge and narratives that transcends the easy answers. I am a experienced journalist, adept with social and multimedia skills, a Master's Candidate at Columbia College Chicago and a freelancer reporter for



For Brandy Carroll, pursuit of extra cash turned deadly

No longer being awakened by Carroll’s singing and dancing, her roommates Mathew Somers and Carissa Johnson deal with her absence every day. “I would get mad when she would wake me up in the morning singing,” said Somers, 20, who held back tears as he described himself as Carroll’s best friend. “ I miss coming down here and getting mad.
Beloit Daily News Link to Story

It's all on the block

Auctioneers Rich Ranft and his father William Miedema stand at Beloit Auction Service, a business Miedema founded and Ranft took over 35 years ago. “Eighty-five, 90, 90 dollars ... sold! ,” said Ranft to a customer 195. Although this is a lot to manage, the real test is reading people. Ranft said sometimes people don’t want to outwardly show their bids — lifting a finger as opposed to raising their hand to indicate bids.
Beloit Daily News Link to Story

Beloit Auction Service's Rich Ranft

A short video on Rick Ranft, owner of Beloit Auction Service.
Beloit Daily News Link to Story

Which Chicago companies keep job candidates on the hook the longest

The hardest part of an interview isn’t making sure not to let a curse word fly, it’s the panicky days after spent willing the telephone to ring. So Glassdoo.

Killer on the line


Elections 2012: McAuliffe, Randazzo Battle for 20th House District

Three decades after the poster was made, Michael P. McAuliffe, 48, who has served 16 years in the Illinois House of Representatives, is being challenged by Bruce Randazzo, 55, who is determined to force change in the working class district. Both agree that the economy in Illinois has taken a hit, and that changes need to be made to improve the business climate.

Legislation seeks to end "no snitch" culture

Chicago had more than 500 deaths last year, and has had over 40 deaths since January 2013, the highest number for January deaths in over a decade, according to Chicago Police data. Many remain unsolved due to uncooperative witnesses. The Gang Crime Witness Protection Act of 2013 may be able to help ease the "no snitching" street culture that makes gun violence in Chicago worse.

Austin lawmaker pushes for ex-cons to get second chance

The proposal by Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) would seal some criminal records, making it easier for them to get a job.


Whitney Helm

Maya Angelou once said “ You won’t remember what was said but how something made you feel.” This is true, in both writing and in our daily lives. As writers, we record feelings and emotions, we are a time capsule for the moment, and a crusader for truth whether it be our own through poetry or the truth of others through journalism. In my life, I have experienced both truths which has lead me to pursue a career in journalism.

The first time I ever picked up a pen to write freely, outside of a school assignment was when my cousin Joshua drowned in Lake Michigan. At the time, I was eight years old and writing a poem for him was the best way to express the grief I was feeling. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I remember the feeling I felt afterwords: relief. Writing allowed me to release my emotions in a productive, calming, and freeing way that I had not been able to do before that. I performed in a performing arts group, Kuumba Lynx and began to write for the city newspaper New Expression.

My study abroad experiences helped me become enhance my love of writing and conversation. I have spent time in Dublin, Ireland, Caracas, Venezuela, and Qingdao China. These experiences allowed me to reconnect with the roots of why I loved writing in the first place, it was during this time that I used my personal experience of using writing as a form of release to others. As a result, I became interested in the stories of people and their experiences, for me writing had always been a release so I used my platform to write feature articles about high school students and standardized tests, the effects of gentrification on a community, and profiles of community organizations.

I carried my love of conversation with me throughout college, where I held an internship at the local daily publication, The Register-Mail. I published articles spanning from profiles about the city’s local history, to illnesses, and political campaigns. I participated in Police-riding-alongs and learned about how a daily publication ran. This has lead to my most recent internship at the Chicago Innocence Project, in which I help investigate cases of wrongful conviction in the Illinois Penal System. As a graduate student, I am refining my skills as a writer, as a listener, and continuing my love of conversation in written form. Every great interview starts with a simple question, my desire is to seek knowledge and narratives that transcends the easy answers.



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