The Vandalia Leader staff has welcomed a new member to its team.
John McLaughlin, of Grain Valley, Mo., started work as a reporter on July 16. McLaughlin is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri–Columbia, where he completed a science and agricultural journalism degree.
He specializes in agricultural coverage with an emphasis in conservation and the environmental sciences —such as atmospheric science, soils, ecology, and biology.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to come and report for Vandalia and the surrounding communities,” he said. “I know I’ll like it, the area reminds me a lot of home.”
Originally from Denver, Colo., McLaughlin moved at a young age with his family to Grain Valley, a growing agricultural community sitting about 20 miles east of Kansas City, Mo.
After graduating from Grain Valley R-5 High School, he moved to Kansas City to attend Penn Valley, a subset of the Metropolitan Community Colleges of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
McLaughlin transferred to the Missouri School of Journalism and MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to complete his studies in 2009.
During his time at MU, McLaughlin was a dean’s list student, founded the first academic chapter of the Outdoor Writers Association of America and a recipient of the Buck Rogers Memorial Scholarship from the Missouri Outdoors Communicators.
He is an avid outdoorsman with great respect for the value of agriculture in the Midwest but he anticipates covering all aspects within the scope of The Vandalia Leader.
“I think the Vandalia Leader is a perfect fit for my likes and background, and I look forward to communicating the life and needs of our community,” McLaughlin said. “A strong newspaper makes for a strong, connected community.”
“That’s important to me,” he said. “If Vandalia is anything like Grain Valley, it won’t be long before I know everyone.”