The following are stories that I wrote for the Georgia Voice, a media outlet for the LGBT community.


Click on the images to read the articles.


Swilley’s story:

A gay pastor, his wife, and a deeper ministry

Chely Wright comes out of the country closet

Wanda Sykes on coming out and coming to Cobb Energy Centre

When I saw a video of Bishop Jim Swilley addressing his mega-church congregation and telling them that he was gay, I immediately contacted him for an interview.  I spoke with him, his wife and one of their sons.  I told their story for a feature in The GA Voice and then did a follow up a year later to see where they were now.  The story had the highest number of web hits that the GA Voice ever had.

I wrote this cover story when country singer Chely Wright became the first country music singer to come out of the closet.  I heard about it and immediately pitched the idea to my editor.  She said if I could get the interview, she would make it a cover.  I booked the interview within the hour.  It was an amazing story and has had lasting implications in the country music community.

When I saw that internationally known comedienne, Wanda Sykes, was performing in Atlanta, I knew an interview with her would be hilarious and insightful.  The timing of her show coincided with Atlanta's PRIDE festival.  In addition to asking her questions about her career, I was also able to get her to share about her coming out experience so that it tied in well with our special double-issue.

Skills: Pitching, Story Crafting, Interview, Research, Transcribing, Journalism

Skills: Pitching, Interview, Research, Transcribing, Journalism

Skills: Pitching, Story Crafting, Interview, Research, Transcribing, Journalism



Amy Ray is home for Sunday show

Joan Baez on music, activism and kissing a girl

Internationally know singer and musician, Amy Ray, (of Indigo Girls fame), was slated to play at the 2012 Atlanta Pride Festival.  I was asked by my editor to do the piece on her because she felt that I could bring a fresh perspective.  Instead of asking dull music questions, I asked her personal questions about her sexuality, the challenges she had to face coming out and how she works to create positive changes in the world.  The story was featured in the PRIDE double-issue.

Folk legend Joan Baez was coming to Atlanta to play with The Indigo Girls.  I interviewed her and despite a short 15 minute time restriction, I was able to put a nice piece together that would be relatable to my audience.

Skills: Story Crafting, Interview, Research, Transcribing, Journalism

Skills: Interview, Research, Transcribing, Journalism

News Writing

Backpack in the Park grows up

Women’s conference ties intimacy, sexuality and community together

Atlanta police: East Atlanta crimes not gay-related

I worked on this piece about a not-for-profit group, "For the Kid in All of Us".  They were having an event to help collect supplies for under-served youth at CHRIS Kids, another non-profit child advocacy group.

Skills: News Writing,  Interview, Research, Transcribing, Journalism

This story was one where I combined research about the event from last year with the upcoming event this year.  I interviewed the organizers as well as the attendees.  The story served to promote the event, but also told a story about a movement that this group is creating.

Skills: News Writing, Story Crafting, Interview, Research, Transcribing, Journalism

East Atlanta Village was experiencing a crime wave with a few ties to the LGBT community in Atlanta.  My editor asked me to do a news story about it.  I interviewed business owners and a member of the Atlanta PD about the crimes.  I also gathered tips for patrons of the businesses in that area to stay safe.

Skills: Research, Interview Skills, News Writing, Journalism

Copyright © 2014 Shannon Hames.

Background by Jason Hartmann, used with permission.

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