Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

I Hear Voices

I love to read, but I have the shortest attention span. If a story does not hook me from the beginning, my mind starts to wander and I start thinking about my next meal, the laundry that is piling up and my never-ending to-do list.

A hook is crucial and for me, a good hook involves an interesting human subject in a good piece of writing (What is Good Writing?). I want to relate right away to a person’s life story, sense of tragedy or triumph and descriptive nature. Without a heartfelt, nail-biting hook, forget it. I’ll head off to do laundry. Continue reading


January 22, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Origin of Woo Hoo Gifts

Sometimes, the best traditions evolve by accident. My family is no exception. In fact, we have our very own woo hoo gift tradition every Christmas that most people don’t understand.

It began when I was a child and I’m proud to say that I created the whole woo hoo phenomenon.

We all have that one gift that we receive that is the most special. It is not always an expensive gift but more so one that means the most to us. Every year, my mom would wait for my “Woo Hoo!” and she would know which gift she gave me was the most special. Continue reading

December 27, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Reflecting | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Feature This: Stories With Heart

newspaperheartFeature stories have heart. Feature stories have warmth. Most of all, feature stories force a writer/reporter to evaluate the human side of a community – beyond the facts, beyond the opinions – to find the spirit of the story.

I have always favored feature stories (or soft news) as a writer because it gives me the chance to get to know people on a higher level than straight news reporting (hard news) does. Beyond that, it also forces me to work as a reporter with feelings – yes, some reporters have actual feelings  :). Continue reading

October 25, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Celebrating Neighbors: A Country Girl with a Giving Nature

celebratePublished in the 9/30/09 issue of the Suburban Journals
Part of the “Celebrate Your Neighbor” Award Series

A Country Girl With a Giving Nature

As a wife, mother of two, and full-time caregiver for her parents, Angela Creed might seem to have barely enough time to maintain her own rigorous schedule. Yet, according to her Columbia neighbor Mary Beth Kirkpatrick, Creed makes time to give more of herself to neighbors, community organizations, local schools, and most importantly, those in need. Continue reading

October 6, 2009 Posted by | Feature Stories, Newspaper Writing, Sample Work | , , , , | 4 Comments

From Blue Collar Life to Police Brass

100_0917Published in the 9/30/09 print issue of the Suburban Journals/Collinsville Herald

From blue collar life to police brass
Collinsville assistant chief takes long route to front office

Tom Coppotelli describes his childhood in Washington Park as something straight out of “Leave it to Beaver,” complete with days playing ball on dusty baseball diamonds, roaming the streets with friends and hurrying home for dinner with his dad who worked on the railroad.

Back then, it seemed he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps into a blue collar life. Continue reading

September 26, 2009 Posted by | Feature Stories, Newspaper Writing, Sample Work | , , , , | 3 Comments