How Hargrove came to write for the Reader:
My first published article in the Reader was for a writing contest I entered in 2007. The contest: Write a story that best describes your neighborhood. I wrote about the bodybuilding couple that lived across the courtyard from us on 6th Avenue in Hillcrest. What seemed like every third or fourth night, the men would erupt in some of the loudest and angriest fights. They would yell. They threw cell phones from the second story balcony. We could hear their sobs from across the courtyard, even through the double-paned glass of our living room window. My wife and I would turn off the lights and peek through the curtains to see the action. I wrote about the fights, about the night when they broke it off for good, when Gus, one of the men stated, "There's no more us, there's just Gus."
I didn't win the contest. I won much more. I won the opportunity to write for the Reader, which I did for nearly 12 years. During that time Jim Holman, Ernie Grimm, Matt Potter, and others guided me on my quest from an aspiring novelist to a journalist. They encouraged me to read books, to write in the active voice, to ditch all the adverbs and adjectives. Most of all they encouraged me to find original stories, stories that had not been reported. I did just that. They told me when I was on to something and they told me, very nicely, when I was not. They stood by my side when my life changed in the blink of an eye while skateboarding with my dog.
Here are some of my favorite stories that I wrote for the Reader:
- A neighbor, Laurie, found me in the street, clawing at my head, screaming in pain. Artie stood next to me. There was no blood. No sign of injury. Laurie told me months later that I begged her not to call paramedics. I just had a headache — I wanted to go home and sleep. Then I vomited on myself, and she dialed 911. (April 21, 2010)
- Wolfe promises an all-expenses paid trip to San Diego. The videos are shot at upscale hotels along San Diego Bay and throughout San Diego County, at hotels such as the Kimpton Palomar Hotel, the Coronado Island Marriott, the Hard Rock Hotel, the Hilton Bayfront, and the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. According to the lawsuit, Wolfe offers the women anywhere from $2000 to $5000 for a few hours of “work.” (Jan 4, 2017)
- “I mean, it’s pretty easy to see that he was a total nerd with a sweet sense of humor and not a mean bone in his body. He would be the last person ever to be suspected of a crime, any crime, let alone some awful murder. I never would have thought, and still don’t to this day, that he was guilty of anything, other than being normal.” (Sept. 16, 2015)
- Barone Capital Fund X within 3 months of making the loans of 1,350,000 and the purchase of shares discovered that Carrizo Gorge did not own the ancillary rights that they represented and which they sold. In addition nothing about the railroad was properly represented. (Sept. 10, 2014)
- Officer Walb caught up to Lopez in a narrow hallway on the third story of an apartment complex near San Diego State University. Lopez had run from officers in the parking lot and retreated toward his friend’s apartment. He was wanted. He knew he was going to jail for several years. He panicked. (Dec. 9, 2015)
- Gonzalo Campos, 54, became a Jehovah’s Witness in 1979 after moving to San Diego from Mexico. He was baptized in 1980 while attending the congregation in Linda Vista. Six months following his baptism, church elders promoted Campos to “publisher,” a member who visits homes with hopes of spreading church doctrine, also the first step in becoming an elder. (Aug. 30, 2017)
- "I thought how strange the whole thing was. Before he turned on the camera he circled me and asked if I had a boyfriend. He got closer to me and whispered in my ear that I was so hot. He asked where I was going after the rehearsal. I said home. He then said that he couldn’t take his eyes off of me." (Aug. 2, 2017)
- "I thought my time would be better spent at the banks, trying to convince people to ditch these banks for local credit unions. I believed that was the best way to hold the executives and the corporations accountable for bringing this country to the brink of collapse," says Olson while occupying a small table at Santos Coffee Shop in North Park. (June 23, 2013)
- On March 2, 2015, hours after the accident, as police officers investigated, Richard Snapper, a 35-year former city employee who worked as the city’s personnel director and served as the assistant city manager, arrived at the scene and requested to speak to an officer. He wanted it in the official record that he had complained about the intersection nearly six years prior. ((March 1, 2017)
- “But, to my surprise, they took me to a cell. First they placed me in the worst section of the jail, I think, where serious criminals were, where the real rapists and murderers were. Luckily, the jail guards figured out that I was unlikely to do such a crime, and they must have also feared for my safety. They separated me and gave me my own cell. However, in jail I never lost hope. I knew the truth was on my side and I trusted I was able to prove it. And I was right.” (Sept. 2, 2015)