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O'Daniel a Herald-Leader columnist

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By Nick Schrager

Kris O’Daniel has led a worldly life. From traveling across the globe to farming in Springfield, it’s safe to say she has a lot of stories to tell.

And now, she has an outlet in which to tell them.

O’Daniel was recently selected as a community columnist for The Lexington Herald-Leader.

“I was going on my way to vacation in Denmark,” O’Daniel said. “So, I sat in the Lexington airport and bought a Lexington Herald-Leader.”

And that’s when she saw a small add requesting people to become community columnists.

“I thought, well, that might be a good challenge for me.”

And a challenge it would be. O’Daniel noted the deadline to submit an article and she would have one day when she got back to write it.

When she found out the Herald-Leader had selected her as a columnist, she was elated.

“I was dancing,” O’Daniel said. “I thought it was incredible, I never expected that.”

From there, she said she knew she wanted to do a good job with her new responsibilities.

“What I consider a good job is researching and trying to see things from different sides,” she said.

One thing that may surprise you is O’Daniel hasn’t done a lot of writing on a personal level, though she did some technical writing during her first job with the United Nations.

“It was the first time I had to formulate a logical piece of material,” she said. “Up to that point it had all been about education and reports and answering questions, and I was not so good at that because I’m a very creative person. I have too many ideas.”

During that time, she said, she learned to pay more attention to details.

All of this, she said, carries over to her editorial writing.

“I feel very responsible,” O’Daniel said. “I feel it’s still very good to have the need to be analytical.”

She said she feels proud to get her start with such a large newspaper, but she also takes it very seriously.

“It’s sort of become a job for me,” she said. “I think of it as a job.”

Some of O’Daniel’s future columns will be about sustainability goals set forth by the UN.

“I hope that people will feel that I am neutral,” she said. “I am not trying to accuse any political side, I’m not trying to accuse anything. I’m not trying to attack anyone. I’m just trying to bring some light on points that I think are important and that meets ordinary people’s views.”

In the end, she said she’s honored to have an opportunity to have a public voice.

“I just like to present our day-to-day experience from our community and bring it into a little broader light,” O’Daniel said.