Jacob Bielanski

Artisanal journalist

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“…formerly based in Madison [Wis.]”

It’s bittersweet to read the final result of my latest work, printed in this month’s Madison Magazine.

On one hand, it’s a culmination of six months work that includes my research, my words and my photos. I went to a place few other outsiders get to visit on the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic. Matt Earley was an absolutely fascinating person to work/travel with, and the people of FEDECARES were nothing short of the nation’s finest ambassadors.

But that final line, that author bio. Ouch. “Formerly.”

I miss Madison dearly. It was not a place rich in the kinds of gritty scandals which fertilize incredible journalism, but it was home. Strike that: it is home. I grew up in Wisconsin, and my greatest transformation–from “writer” to “journalist”–occurred under the city’s watchful and benevolent eye. Call it self-denial, but a piece of me shall always consider Madison “home.”

It’s just that I now live in New Orleans. And, between other projects, I write for the Nola Defender.

NOLA is an incredible place. It has no shortage of journalists yet, somehow, has a dearth of journalism. Perhaps I can import a little bit of that proud, upper-Midwest, fight-for-the-little-guy journalism to its (sinking) soil and when (or if) my work here is done, return to the warm (if climatically chilly) embrace of cheese curds and dark beer.

For now, it’s crawdads and daiquiris. And political corruption.

-JB

p.s.: It warms my heart to know that they sell Just Coffee at the Co-Op down the street from my apartment.

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