Arielle DollingerNewsday email@example.com
When I was 7 years old, my second-grade teacher assigned our class a fictional story about a bluebird in the springtime. She hung the drafts from the ceiling tiles by paper clips.
I stood beside Mrs. Stark as we looked up at dangling pages. My classmates’ stories were two pages; mine extended two pages past. Of the first story I’d ever written, Mrs. Stark would speak words that punched far above their weight.
Having grown up on Long Island, and moved – albeit briefly – to Brooklyn and back, I have grown to appreciate this place in a way I did not as a little girl.
“She’s going to be a writer,” Mrs. Stark said. And I remember thinking, “Maybe that’s what I am.”
Six years later, I told my dad that I would probably be a lawyer – because he is – or a teacher, because my mom was, until I was born. But no matter what I did, I would write novels on the side.
When I learned at 13 what journalism was, and that it was a career option, everything about my life started to make sense. There is no way to say it without sounding like a Rory Gilmore cliche, but that I would work in journalism did not feel like a choice to me; it felt like a realization.
That I was a journalist, innately, was an explanation for insatiable curiosity and inability to choose a favorite school subject. It was an explanation for an impulse to find evidence of truth or falsity, and to relay stories in a way that felt fair to all parties involved.
At 16, I took my first college journalism course, at Stony Brook University. I graduated in 2013 with degrees in Journalism and Spanish Language & Literature. In the years since, my work has colored my experience of the world.
I learned about the justice system as a freelance reporter, once walking out of a courthouse next to a defendant jurors believed was guilty but could not convict. I have exposed a bar with a discriminatory policy, and told stories of lighthouse keepers and mosquito-eating bats. I experienced the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of an obituary freelance writer for Newsday. I joined Newsday’s staff as a real estate reporter in November 2022.
Having grown up on Long Island, and moved – albeit briefly – to Brooklyn and back, I have grown to appreciate this place in a way I did not as a little girl. I love sharing stories of little-known neighborhoods with friends, family and readers. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to learn more about the island I call home, and to share what I find with our audience.
Education: Stony Brook University