As a wordsmith, I’ve always focused on writing and its ability to tell a story. But I’ve also admired how photographers and the photojournalists I’ve had the pleasure of working with tell stories just as effectively.
Sometimes more effectively.
I have taken my fair share of photos, too, as a journalist. And I understand the lure of framing and composing just the right shot. Not that I’m great at it, but I recently came across many of my photos — not all taken for professional reasons — that still reasonate.
Some were published, others were taken for personal reasons. So I decided to upload them to this website’s portfolio pages, since I still take a photo every now and then for a story I’ve been assigned. It is another skill I’ve developed over my career, and that’s what this site is all about, right?
Take a look if you are so inclined and, as with all my posts, feel free to leave a comment.
Necessity can lead to choices that might have been rejected in the past. Circumstances and situations often change, so we decide differently.
That’s where I found myself after reassessing where my writing career stood. I’ve written before about a story pitching online course that provided a lot of good information, tips and guidance. As a journalist, I know what makes a story a story, so sharing those ideas and subjects with editors who then assign them to the person who pitched them makes sense.
But the reality — as I knew would be the case — turned out to be very difficult. After pitching many story ideas to several editors, I have yet to get an assignment. Most of the time, the reasons stemmed from the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impacts. For many publications and online sites, their freelance budgets were one of the first areas they cut.
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.
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’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.