The Buffalo Story Project is a place for long-form, magazine-style stories about Buffalo and Western New York. This site has two main purposes: to give outsiders a glimpse into the Rust Belt, and to help Buffalonians discover their city in a new light.
Portfolio | Twitter | Charlotte Hsu is a freelance reporter based in Buffalo’s University Heights neighborhood. Before moving to Western New York in 2009, she wrote for newspapers in Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Seattle, Newark, N.J. and Allentown, Pa. She has lived in all those places, along with Massachusetts, California’s Bay Area, Taipei, Los Angeles and Madrid.
Today, from her home on the Great Lakes, she uses ink and pixels to tell vivid, thought-provoking stories. (Disclosure: Charlotte works in the University at Buffalo’s press office, but this site is independent of her job there.)
Twitter | Robert Salonga covers crime, public safety and breaking news for the San Jose Mercury News in the San Francisco Bay Area. He covered the same beat for the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune from 2007 to 2012. Before that, he reported in Salinas, Calif. and Washington, D.C. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.
Outside of work, Robert’s a gym rat who watches unhealthy amounts of TV and strives to replace as many car trips with bike rides as he can. Now that he writes for his hometown newspaper, he’s counting down the days until he has to write about one of his high school buddies getting in trouble.
Robert has edited The Buffalo Story Project since August 2010. He was Charlotte’s editor years ago at the UCLA Daily Bruin. Charlotte used to get mad and throw small objects at him, but now that they are collaborating remotely, that won’t be possible.
Portfolio | Jenna Boshart is a native of Western New York. Her love of photography grew from her desire to tell the stories of others.
In college, she spent hours each week wandering the streets photographing city life, and in the darkroom trying to create that perfect print. It was then that she knew she was hooked for life. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2010 and moved to New York City to pursue her passion for photography.
After two internships and several adventures, Jenna moved back to the Buffalo area and is working as a freelance documentary photographer. Her ongoing personal projects include 25¢ a Dozen and The Barber Shop. She began shooting stories for The Buffalo Story Project in October 2012.
Hire Christina | Christina Shaw was born and raised in Western New York. She loves to create beautiful images of things and places that may seem ordinary at first.
Her love for photography grew into a weekend job and obsession when she was living in New York City in 2005. As she strolled the streets, she felt an incredible energy. She took pictures of everything, from garbage cans to Coney Island Mermaids. She wanted to capture it all.
Christina moved back to Buffalo in 2009 to be closer to family and friends. She began shooting stories for The Buffalo Story Project in August 2010. She also works for hire in Western New York, photographing engagements, weddings, newborns, children, families and products.
Despite a precipitous decline in population over the past half century, Buffalo, N.Y. remains New York State’s second most populous city. The cast of characters that populates the region includes sixth-generation farmers, a community of African refugees, Burmese immigrants who fish the Niagara River, cobblers, grocers, artisan winemakers, and, more recently, young professionals moving home after growing tired of living in New York City.
Historically, many of the country’s great dramas played out in Western New York. In the 1800s, the region was the last stop on the Underground Railroad for many slaves seeking freedom in Canada. At the turn of the 20th century, Buffalo became known as the “City of Light,” with hydroelectric power from nearby Niagara Falls feeding some of the nation’s first electric streetlamps. Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office of United States president here in 1901 after an assassin shot and fatally wounded William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition, the World’s Fair in Buffalo that year.
Today, Buffalo is known for chicken wings, for snow, and for losing the Super Bowl four years in a row. It has the third highest poverty rate among America’s large cities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Vacant houses, derelict and crumbling, pepper this once-bustling terminus of the Erie Canal. Still, for the people who call Western New York home, this can be a lively place — one of many cultures and languages, and many dreams for the future.