Meet the new West County reporter

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Staff Writer
Published: 6/17/2022 10:57:06 AM
Modified: 6/17/2022 10:56:56 AM

Knocking on the doors of Chicago bungalows in 2010, I handed each of my neighbors the first newspaper I ever made. The pages were filled with hard-hitting journalism: a spinach recipe and an incomprehensible crossword puzzle.

Since my first foray in journalism as an 11-year-old, I caught the bug. I have written for numerous publications, including my college, high school and even elementary school papers, and am happy to start my full-time career as a reporter covering the Greenfield Recorder’s West County beat.

I moved to western Massachusetts from Chicago in 2018 to attend Smith College in Northampton. Four years later, I have a bachelor’s degree in government, and am happy to stay in the area developing my skills as a reporter and serving the West County community.

In my time as a student journalist, I found my best work and most joy in the job when I highlighted the hard work of local residents trying to build community. Last summer I spent a morning with an historical events re-enactor who told me the story of the role of Somerville’s Powderhouse in the Revolutionary War. Seeing her work and sharing her story with residents showed me how important local journalism is in highlighting all the little things people do to create a rich and vibrant community.

While serving as managing editor of Smith College’s student newspaper The Sophian, I covered college class and policy changes, environmental mismanagement leading to the destruction of many beloved trees on campus, and Title IX abuses. I had a great time meeting and talking to people involved in every aspect of campus and navigating the college’s complex power hierarchies. I have and will use all I learned in my college newspaper to navigate the residents, selectboards, business owners and workers of West County while reporting the region’s events.

I became familiar with West County — and most of Franklin County as a whole — during the past couple years hiking and biking. Now over the past two weeks, I have gone back to all the places I enjoyed for their nature and learned about the politics, people and problems of these same spots.

My first week on the job included covering a multi-building fire in Orange, documenting a 6 a.m. protest at FirstLight Hydro Generating Co.’s Northfield Mountain facility, writing about Charlemont’s Annual Town Meeting and a judge’s denial of a new trial of Elvio Marrero, who seeks to overturn his 1996 murder conviction. I am excited for all the weeks to come, and anything that will be thrown my way.

I know I have big shoes to fill considering retired reporter Diane Broncaccio’s long tenure covering West County, but I am incredibly excited to write about and get to know each of you. I hope I can cover all the work you are doing to make Franklin County a great place.

Contact Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.


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