photo provided
photo provided

Cody Rheault has a lot of arrows in his quiver as a freelance journalist. He's a talented photographer and videographer, as well as being able to paint a picture with words.

"I classify myself as a storyteller," he says. He'll deploy "whatever tool does that the best."

That's just what Nugget Editor in Chief Jim Cornelius looks for in a freelance reporter.

"You can teach someone research skills or how to conduct an effective interview," he said. "A sense of 'story' isn't really something you can teach. You have it or you don't. Cody has it."

Rheault approached The Nugget a year ago with an interest in freelance newspaper work.

"I was doing a lot of commercial work with film," he said. "I had more of an interest in just telling stories, meeting people; being part of a community."

Rheault, a 2010 graduate of Redmond High School, took to photography in 2006, finding that it suited his quiet, observer's temperament and personality. Like many artists who move into journalism, it took some doing to move out of the comfort zone to engage with subjects.

"It was terrifying interviewing people," Cody recalled. "And even more terrifying to realize that thousands of people are going to read what I write, so it'd better be good."

Rheault soon discovered that most people are eager to see their story told and make themselves accessible. And the trepidation around interviews fell away with the realization that "it wasn't about me. It was about them and I was just the guy capturing it."

Rheault has covered a wide range of interesting subjects and stories in his tenure at The Nugget, but one story in particular is his favorite: "Miracle horse took to the arena at Sisters Rodeo," in the June 20, 2018 edition.

Kerri Raymond, of La?Pine, saved the horse named Minnow and turned her life around to the point where she was able to enter the Sisters Rodeo arena bearing Queen Hailey Konze to carry the American flag.

"That's the stuff I like to write," Rheault said. "It made a difference for her. Most of all, it was a story that deserved to be told."

In addition to a range of skills, Rheault brings to his storytelling a broad perspective, inculcated by a childhood on the move. His father's career required frequent changes of locale, which took Cody across the U.S.

"I think I lived in seven homes before 14," he said.

In addition to a peripatetic childhood, Rheault has traveled extensively to document the work of Open Bible Churches, work that started in 2016. He's traveled to a dozen countries on six continents, and he'll be traveling to Cambodia in just a couple of weeks.

Travel, as it is wont to do, has given him a broad cultural perspective, which he brings as a subtext into his storytelling - whether on film or on the page.

Rheault has found a calling in his role as a storyteller, both with The Nugget and in other freelance work. It's work he takes very seriously.

"I'm not just putting down some bullet points on paper," he reflected. "I'm putting down somebody's life."