Tom Rivers, a reporter for The Daily News in Batavia, wrote a first-person series about farm work in 2008 that won state and national awards. Now the series, with more background and other information, has been compiled in a newly released audiobook, Farm Hands: Hard Work and Hard Lessons from Western New York Fields. Rivers worked at a dozen farms in Orleans and Genesee counties, trying to find out why so few local residents are willing to work on farms. He discovered the work requires many skills, enormous willpower and physical strength.
Don't form a personal opinion and don't get involved. The editors recommended a 'just the facts' focus for this cub reporter...For his first few years on the job, journalist Tom Rivers did his best to heed that advice. But living and working in a small town, it's hard to stay out of the story. So when the editors offered him a bi-weekly column 10 years ago, Rivers jumped at the chance to share some his own ideas, adventures, and the occasional off-beat story that just didn't fit the news-article form.