Small towns are great communities. They come together in times of trouble, disaster and death. Just like families.
So it was nearly 20 years ago when I lived in Rifle, Colorado, a city of around 6,000 people at the time. The night before Independence Day 2001, Rifle was rocked by the senseless shootings of seven Latino residents by a white man with a long history of mental illness. Four of the victims died.
Steven Michael Stagner, then 42, did not know any of his victims, who ranged in age from 17 to 44. The tragedy was national news for a while.
I was reminded of something that happened days later Continue reading “Small town values are what we need now”
Reaching a goal, especially one you had in mind for a while, is a fulfilling and — in my case hopefully rewarding — experience. Over parts of March and April, I took part in a six-week online Freelance Writers Bootcamp. I wrote about it a few months ago when it had just started.
After finishing the online course, I felt my mojo has fallen back in place. My motivation, which never entirely left me over the last few years, was back. The knowledge I gained reminded me again of how much I enjoy being a lifelong learner and opening my mind to new possibilities.
I now know the process of story pitching, including Continue reading “Goal reached, mojo back”
I’m one of those people who’s career has been spent working alone most of the time. I quickly realized I thrive in isolation when it comes to going to meetings, making phone calls, meeting deadlines and all the other required tasks of a journalist.
So now in this time of pandemic self-isolation, I seem to have adapted pretty well. To be sure, I wish this novel coronavirus had never came to be. I just wanted to mention that my past — along with thousands, maybe millions of others — helped prepare me for this situation.
Shortly before the virus spread from China, Continue reading “A welcome diversion in a time like this”
Every writer has been told at least once to “write what you’re passionate about.” I guess I’ve always been somewhat of an exception to that advice, although not really intentionally.
Another piece of advice along the same lines is to develop a niche, something you know very well and have been able to write about successfully. Back in the day, natural gas development was one of my niches. Not really by choice. The newspaper I worked for at the time had the bureau I worked in right in the middle of intense gas drilling. It made sense to focus much of my efforts on that topic.
I don’t live in the same area and haven’t written about natural gas in many years. Maybe some people Continue reading “Getting to some important stories”
Some days I feel like a dinosaur; we all know how their story ended. Not just due to age, but my chosen profession just keeps getting gloomier as it seems headed toward extinction.
Most people probably know journalism is anything but a high-growth occupation. Declining revenue and what seems like more and more bottom-line-focused hedge fund owners do not paint a rosy picture for those of us in the news media.
Thousands of reporters, photographers, copy editors and other positions have been eliminated over the last decade. News outlets have closed down, leaving what some call a “news desert” in the communities they formerly served and kept informed.
A few bright spots surface here and there, Continue reading “A few kicks left after all”