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Our political beat and early-morning reporter, Melissa Corker, will be leaving The Sacramento Press to return to her previous job, working with an escrow officer for a title company in Natomas.
Melissa joined The Sacramento Press as an intern in the fall of 2011, and was hired as the political reporter that June.
She arrived, she said, with “stars in her eyes” and considered it her dream job. The culture, the people and the workspace (especially the pingpong table) at Sac Press impressed her.
Melissa’s drive as a journalist – and as a person – was, and is, community service.
"That's the whole reason I want to write," she told me. "It's information for people – they find things they didn't know, they find ways to do better, to improve."
Over the last year, the stories she most enjoyed working on were about people who helped others, like the workers at a state agency that seeks unknown victims entitled to restitution.
She also helped draw attention to community causes that might otherwise have been overlooked. This May, she was the first reporter to write about the city's plans to cut recreation programs for the disabled. The Sacramento Bee and TV news soon followed. Melissa stayed on the story and, with the media spotlight on the issue, the city decided to restore most of the funding for the program in question.
At the title company, Melissa will help track transactions to make sure each party complies with contractual obligations. The mastery of detail and ability to delve into complex processes that she learned while working in real estate served her well in government reporting, be it by following the path of a particular ordinance or explaining the ins and outs of redistricting.
Melissa stood out at Sac Press for her positive attitude, impressive work ethic and an ability to find humor in the little ironies and absurdities one encounters while working as a journalist. She tackled her job with earnest enthusiasm while never taking herself too seriously in the process.
She will still be in the area and may still write for us every now and then, time permitting. Around the office, she said she will be remembered for the ducks around her desk (go, Oregon!), her ability to consume copious amounts of caffeine and what she referred to as a "hummingbird mentality."
"I'm always buzzing around, always moving," she said. "I don't think I sat still for very long."
If if you have a message for Melissa, leave it in the conversation below this article. I, for one, wish her the best, and after having worked with her, I'm sure she has the smarts, personality and drive to be successful wherever she goes.
THE MELISSA CORKER FUN FACT FILE
* She has never, in more than 30 years of doing laundry, wound up with evenly paired socks out of the dryer.
* She repositions the eggs in the carton after she uses them so the carton is perfectly balanced before she returns it to the fridge.
* She met Tom Hanks on 57th Avenue in New York in 1987 when she was 17 – and she still has the Hard Rock Cafe bag that he signed for her.
* She climbed Mount Whitney (highest summit in the contiguous United States), ran a marathon in Paris, France, and scuba-dived in Mexico.