Elizabeth Shestak

Durham, NC USA

Professional Experience

I've spent almost three years hustling as a freelancer for the News & Observer, and am more than ready to take on national, and even international projects. I have passionate interests in features, such as house stories, food writing and travel, but am equally driven by relevant pieces that have more social impact. If it's a story, I'd love to tell it, and I utilize as much narrative as possible.


1 Year
3 Years


Sports & Recreation
3 Years
Women's Issues
3 Years
3 Years


Newspaper - Local/Regional
3 Years

Total Media Industry Experience

4 Years

Media Client List (# assignments last 2 yrs)

News & Observer (10+)

Other Work History

Personal assistant to Frances Mayes, author of "Under the Tuscan Sun." January 2006 - present.

Foreign Language Skills

Spanish near fluency; Italian conversant. Lived in Madrid for a semester in college.

Computer Skills

Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, Access


Well versed on both Macs and PCs, as well as collecting audio

Work Permits & Visas

Passport is up to date.


PROFESSIONAL: Rob Waters: editor of the News & Observer’s Durham bureau as well as the community weekly the Durham News. (Previous editors include Michelle Valenzuela, mvalenzu@newsobserver.com and Charles Jeffries, charlesj@newsoberver.com.) office (919) 956-2417 rwaters@newsobserver.com Frances Mayes: author of the international bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun and its sequel Bella Tuscany, among other nonfiction works. home (919) 381-9409 francesmayes@mac.com George Lawrence: held senior editor positions at the News & Observer over the course of 16 years, is now the principal of G.H. Lawrence & Associates, a PR firm – is a character reference. cell (919) 452-6086 g-law@mindspring.com PROFESSORS of JOURNALISM: Steve Crane: scrane@jmail.umd.edu Jon Franklin: jonfrank@chesapeake.net Chris Hanson: chanson@jmail.umd.edu Tom Kunkel: Dean of the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland tkunkel@jmail.umd.edu


o At Carnegie Mellon University: Recipient of Adamson Awards, Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Award, and was published in the Sloping Halls Review o At the University of Maryland, as an Eleanor Merrill fellow, won the first place student SPJ Mark of Excellence Award Region II in online news reporting for “Inauguration 2005.”


Food Writing Samples

Two humble wine lovers focus on small, family owned vineyards and refuse to sell out. They're hoping to be ahead of the curve.
A simple idea - rotisserie chicken - and how this young restauranteur is making it new again through his Peruvian oven.

News Feature Samples

For those who've served their time, the punishments don't always end when their terms are up. They go from one prison to another, unable to get work due to their records. One man is trying to change that.

Feature Samples

How a seemingly archaic, tedious task bring comfort to an aging woman.

Profile Samples

A profile of a simple man who simply cares about his community - one of those people that is not intimidated by crime, and risks himself on a daily basis to hold others accountable.