A contact shared a video on social media that made reporter Kristine Goodrich pretty sure she had a story.
It featured a young man in the Mankato area using a clever contraption to free a bobcat from a trap.
Goodrich marveled at how the young man protected himself. And then she wondered: How rare are bobcats around here?
The result is a story that ran in early January in the Mankato Free Press that’s the latest subject of Minnesota Sampler, a periodic feature from MNSPJ that showcases journalism from across the state.
“I was disappointed and considered scrapping the idea when the trapper in the viral video didn’t want to be named because he said he feared he would be harassed by people who are opposed to trapping,” Goodrich said via e-mail. “I decided to still run with it and use a [Department of Natural Resources] expert as the principal source concentrating on my second reaction.”
Some vetting was required, Goodrich said, since there have been some prank claims over the years about cat sightings. A colleague at the Free Press investigated a photo of a cougar a few years ago and determined it was a hoax.
Others are real. Last year, Goodrich wrote a story about a cougar sighting in Blue Earth.
Goodrich has worked at the Free Press for two year. She spent her first decade in journalism as a reporter and then co-editor at Press Publications, which publishes weekly papers in eastern portion of the Twin Cities.
Goodrich studied journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
“I suppose above all else it is the opportunity to talk with amazing people ranging from experts who are their wisdom to everyday citizens who do something inspiring,” Goodrich said in an e-mail. “And then there’s the challenge and reward of crafting stories.”