Right after college, Mandy accepted a position as the editor of The Daily Guide in Waynesville, Missouri, before transitioning to the editor at Commerical-News in Danville, Illinois. Although there were beautiful sunsets, cold midwest winters allowed her to realize she wanted to live somewhere warm, with sunshine.

When Mandy arrived in Bluffton to step into her role as the Island Packet‘s new special projects editor, she met Liz, an editor and columnist. They had worked together some after Mandy arrived in South Carolina, but teaming up on a story about The Bachelorette filming in Savannah in the summer of 2017 solidified their status as friends. Watch the video below as they recall the early stages of their friendship.

Want to see the video that she and Liz captured that set their reporting apart from the rest? Take a peek below!

Behind the Book

Countless hours were spent on Zoom as Mandy shared her story with co-author Carolyn Murnick. We asked Carolyn to reflect on the writing process of each chapter. Here is what she had to share about Chapter 1:

“Breaking news doesn’t care that you’re on a boat with your parents and your fiance. Breaking news happens when you least expect it, even if you’re trained to always expect it. The roadside shooting chapter is a perfect example of this phenomenon, and it has echoes of the Puerto Rico engagement trip chapter: in the blink of an eye, drama and chaos can find you in the midst of an otherwise peaceful time. Mandy showed me pictures of her boat ride that day, and we spent time talking through the before and after of her time on the water and how she had to rapidly shift gears into crisis reporting mode. I love that this chapter showcases Mandy’s talents as a resourceful and scrappy reporter, and it also shows the stresses she was dealing with from predatory producers trying to get a piece of her podcast action. The cannibalistic, true crime industrial complex is a big theme of the book, and this chapter begins to show the dark energy that so many unscrupulous people and groups bring to crimes as they start to gain a bigger profile. This chapter also details one of the most painful, public humiliations of Mandy’s investigation: when Dick Harpootlian was caught on a hot mic in court making a dumb, sexist joke about Mandy. We knew this anecdote was pivotal in Mandy’s journey, and it wasn’t easy for her to revisit the time. But we also knew so many women would see themselves in that moment—an established man trying to put a woman he saw as threatening in her place. It was outrageous for me to learn about, and so maddening to write these scenes, but we both knew they were so important to include.” – Carolyn Murnick

Stay tuned as we will be releasing additional content monthly! We have some of Mandy’s first articles from Waynesville and Danville, as well as some audio of Mandy and Carolyn’s writing process.

Curious about a document, video or photo? Let us know!

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