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The Reluctant Columnist - Getting To Know Me
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I'm sure by now some of you have noticed my byline in the Oakdale Leader. I took over the civics and hospital beat in the last week of August and I think it's about time that I introduce myself. My name is Andee and I am new to The Leader and to Oakdale, but I have been working for Morris Multimedia (The Leader's parent company) for a few years. I am currently working for both the Oakdale Leader and the Turlock Journal, with the occasional story in the Riverbank News and Escalon Times as well.

I am not originally from the area but I really enjoy the Central Valley. I grew up in Barstow - I'm sure you've stopped there if you have ever been to Vegas - and the valley is a nice change from the Mojave Desert. I moved here in 2007 to attend CSU Stanislaus and I liked it enough to stay after graduation. I currently live in Turlock with my 11 year-old tortoise and two pet rats.

I like to tell people that my love of journalism started with my hatred of math. In high school I absolutely hated my pre-calculus class and I quit mid-semester. I had to do something between 10 and 11 a.m., so my counselor gave me a choice between metal shop and journalism class. I picked journalism and soon realized I really enjoyed working on the student newspaper. I decided that I wanted to pursue journalism as a career. I think I was attracted to a job where I could do something completely different every day. Each story takes me to new places to meet new people, and I get to do some pretty cool things during the workday.

I spent a summer interning at the daily newspaper in Barstow to see what I was really getting myself into and thankfully I really enjoyed it. I was Editor-in-Chief of The Signal, the student newspaper at Stan State, during my second year of college. From there I was hired to work at The Turlock Journal as a reporter, where I have been working for a little over two years. Somewhere during all of that I received a BA degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Journalism.

In August I was given the opportunity to write for the Oakdale Leader and cover city government. I was excited for the chance to get to know a new community and cover topics important to Oakdale residents. And I have covered some exciting and interesting stories in the few short weeks I have been at The Leader. One thing that really impresses me about Oakdale is how involved people are in government decisions. I don't think I have ever seen a city council get as much regular and active community participation as the Oakdale City Council receives.

Aside from my city council stories I have also written a feature on a local leather craftsman, toured the site of a new teen center and met the wildlife at Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center. I enjoy working at community newspapers because I get to meet our readers on a daily basis. I have met Leader readers everywhere from city council meetings and golf tournaments during my workday to the Oakdale Farmer's Market after I clocked out.

I have the pleasure of working in Oakdale an average of three days a week, and I am enjoying exploring the town. So far I have discovered that I can get coffee, eat pizza, check out library books and deposit my paycheck within a block of The Leader office. I also find that is very helpful for finding the best places to wash my car, buy pet supplies and get more coffee. I am always open to suggestions for the best local place to eat lunch. And did I mention coffee? Seriously, Oakdale has a surprising number of places to sate my caffeine addiction.

I look forward to meeting more of our readers and residents. I am in Oakdale on Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Thursday, but I am always available by e-mail at

Andrea Goodwin is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.