The Wandering…Dude?

For more columns from Bonnie click HERE

Interview With Biographer David Maraniss

I had the absolute honor of interviewing David Maraniss the two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner and award-winning biographer about his writing process.

You can watch the 30-second end clip before you commit to watching the whole hour-long video (posted at the end of this blog).

David shared his writing experiences for writing his most recent book, A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father (2019). For this book he researched his own father with a biographer’s eye. David’s father Elliott Maraniss was a WWII veteran who had commanded an all-Black company in the Pacific. He was spied on by the FBI, named as a Communist by an informant, called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, fired from his newspaper job, and blacklisted for five years. Yet his father never lost faith in America and emerged on the other side with his family and optimism intact. 

In our conversation, David gives great writing and research advice when dealing with personal and painful memories, especially when it focuses on family. Watch the full hour interview at the link below:

For upcoming interviews and workshops visit my Events Page.

If you like this interview you may also like my interview with John Avlon and Mary C. Curtis on the Art of the Interview:

Write to Unite

After last week’s events this is a conversation you do not want to miss. Presented in Partnership with Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists and Moderated by Cincinnati Enquirer’s opinion editor Kevin Aldridge, Pulitzer winners for commentary Clarence Page and Kathleen Parker will talk about the power of writing to heal and unite. Can this be possible and how can we columnists work toward that goal? Just $25 for NSNC Members. SPJ members use Coupon Code CINCYSPJ for member discount as well. Register now:

What happens to drug money?

Drug money funds the OPAA
Eye On Ohio

Here’s what we learned about drug money.

This is one of those articles where you think you have one story and then you turn a corner and bam! You get a piece of information that leads you to a bigger story. I learned so much working on this investigation about what happens to drug money.

The story centers around outgoing county prosecutor Trecia Kimes-Brown. She gifted cash to kids who completed 4-H projects and it nicely illustrates how Ohio law needs to do better. Ohio county prosecutors and county sheriffs have two outside accounts – meaning checks don’t cross the auditor’s desk for approval before they go out of these accounts. One of these accounts hold profits from drug money seizures. One can imagine the confusion and misuse this can cause. But I don’t think all of the misuse is malicious. Instead, some misuse is born from the discretion given elected officials.

We also learned about the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, an organization that solely exists to serve elected officials. The organization charges outrageous annual dues that are – you guessed – paid using these outside accounts. The organization is classified as a 501(c)3 organization and therefore was able to turn down our Freedom Of Information Act public records requests even though they are clearly funded with public money.

Eye On Ohio will follow up on this story as more information becomes available. We filled a public records request with the Department of Justice and are waiting for more information. Also, there may be a podcast in the works about this issue with Why Don’t We Know. For now here’s what we’ve learned so far:


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freelance writer
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp Freelance Writer

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is an award-winning freelance writer and columnist. She is the Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, member of the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board, and a board member for the Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives with her family in Northern Kentucky.  Find her on social media @WriterBonnie or at WriterBonnie.com.

Op-Ed Makes the Difference for Public Hospital Records

After a seven-month legal battle, the courts ruled and then Ohio Department of Health continued to stall. I was super frustrated. Each email from ODH angered me. You see, I was a wrier on the Eye on Ohio project that aimed to report hospital capacity numbers for the public during this COVID-19 pandemic. Our whole team was tired and frustrated for having to continue to argue with the ODH lawyer to gain access to what the courts had confirmed was public record.

I decided to write an op-ed. I am a freelance writer but I’m also a columnist on the Editorial Board of the Cincinnati Enquirer. So, I wrote the op-ed linked below to specifically call out the Socrates Tuch, the ODH Lawyer who insisted on giving us a hard time. The op-ed appeared on Saturday, November 21, 2020.

Read that Op-Ed Here:

The following Monday, November 23, 2020, ODH Press Secretary Melanie Amato sent an email that stated:

Here is the latest information on your public records request. Moving forward, please send your requests to me for I will be supplying you with the information.
Please stop sending to the legal counsel for they have other things to continue to work on.
I appreciate the help. 

Melanie Amato

Magically the data we requested started rolling in and Socrates Tuch was taken out of the loop.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of an op-ed column.

Now, the citizens of Ohio have a clear understanding of what the hospitals in their state are facing with COVID-19. Click the link below to check on the capacity of each hospital that is reporting data. It will help individual communities cope with what’s happening in their area.


freelance writer
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is an award-winning freelance writer and columnist. She is the Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, member of the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board, and a board member for the Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives with her family in Northern Kentucky.  Find her on social media @WriterBonnie.

Eye On Ohio Got Records from The Ohio Department of Health…Sort Of

Despite an October 20 court order issued by the Ohio Court of Claims, the Ohio Department of Health still had not released complete records as of late Wednesday night, claiming they needed several days to release information from a database that is updated daily. Read the full story below.

This came after winning the court battle for access to important hospital data. Read that story below:

This all started seven months ago when we first tried to report data in real time as a service to the public during a pandemic. Our attempts were blocked by ODH. Read that story below


Read more pandemic Coverage from Bonnie Jean Feldkamp HERE.

After seven month legal battle, Eye on Ohio wins public records lawsuit over hospital capacity numbers

This story went from slow motion to fast forward this week. It started 7 months ago when we tried reporting on bed and vent counts in Ohio Hospitals only to be shut out. Eye On Ohio took them to court. After a months long back and forth the court ordered Ohio Department of Health to hand over the hospital data we requested in our public records request. We’re still waiting on the data. Meanwhile Court News Ohio ran a story on the ruling and other media is picking it up. So yesterday we were off to the races to cover our own story. Written with Kathiann M. Kowalski. Please read and share.


Our report from seven months ago:


Read more of Bonnie’s clips HERE

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is an award-winning freelance writer and columnist. She is the Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, member of the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board, and a board member for the Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives with her family in Northern Kentucky.  Find her on social media @WriterBonnie.

Madam Vice President

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to put my thoughts down for this historic event.

It’s hard to wrap my brain around what this election means to me. It means progress. Even though there’s another white man as president and that’s not anything new. 

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

I hope you’ll read the full column at the link below.