"My wife convinced me that I have to be willing to die for this for people to show up and you know what? She’s right. Isn’t that stupid?”
How Stalmer came to write for the Reader:
Taking my rescue dogs Zoe and Bailey for a walk on Fiesta Island in June 2015, I saw what looked to be baby lobsters covering the beach. I took photos and video of what were actually tuna crabs. I wrote a short article on my phone and submitted it. I got a response right away that it would be published. At a writer's conference in Palm Springs circa 2004, I was sharing with a Reader writer some stories about my family in San Diego over the last century and she encouraged me to submit something.
Stalmer's favorite stories she wrote for the Reader:
- This series of stories eventually broke info that may have helped to break the case and stop the shootings. It was also the first time, another rag called my coverage out as the best on a specific story. (Apr. 7, 2016)
- This one was hard to write but the rebel in me wouldn't let the threats stop me. (Sept. 5, 2017)
Somebody vandalized this SUV in seemingly a cry for help
- This series of articles was an odyssey. I went very deep in the weeds and I got heat from all sides, which I finally understood meant that I was doing a good job reporting. (June 21, 2016)
Construction at the corner of Emerson and Evergreen streets in June 2016
- This was the article that my journalistic gut got fine tuned. I just knew something was fishy and dug until I was able to connect the dots. Two of the people I reported on in this article were later part of an attempted kidnapping/murder plot. My gut didn't see that twist coming. (May 4, 2017)
Ninus Malan complained about not being able to talk outside with his law office clients.
- This is one of the first stories that I really dug into the documentation, and because of that it became a feature. (Sept. 14, 2016)
The day-care next door on March 10, before it was licensed to operate
- This was the first article where I felt like maybe I was heading into being a real journalist. (Dec. 7, 2016)
- This was the first article that was mentioned back to me by an interview as a really great article and source for writing the vaping article I was interviewing him for. The vaping article turned out even better than this one. (April 21, 2017)
Phantom Lounge and Nightclub had its liquor license revoked by the Alcohol Control Board.
- My first undercover story. I felt conflicted about it, but I wasn't getting anywhere by normal routes. (Aug. 31, 2018)
After delivering papers all morning, I found a free newspaper on my porch.
- An interview for another article tried to intimidate me into not writing a story by name dropping all the mobsters he grew up with, including his close ties to Bompensiero. I came back at him with a story I had. When mentioning this exchange to the editor, he asked me to write this story. (Feb. 10, 2018)
FBI surveillance photo of Jimmy Fratianno (left) and Frank Bompensiero
- This was the weirdest article I've ever worked on. I was certain it was too weird to even pitch but when I did, I was asked how long it would take me to get down there. The main interview currently supports Trump and lives in Mexico sans MAGA hat. (Aug. 23, 2016)