Don’t take my choice away

My dad was always pro-union. He worked in a rail yard, then became an electrician. I recall he credited a union he belonged to with helping him start to make a successful career that led him to electrical inspector positions at a couple of large cities, including Beverly Hills.

When I look at corporations like Amazon and Walmart and the wages they pay their workers, I think unions might be able to help those low-income workers make a better life for themselves and their families.

In my industry, newspaper employees, especially at papers owned by bottom-line-ruled hedge funds, have turned more often to forming or joining unions to help them survive.

While union membership has declined for decades, I usually support the goals of unions.

As a journalist, I’ve always believed in the “seen but not heard” approach. That’s especially true when it comes to politics. Present a balanced and factual story but keep your personal beliefs and stances out of your stories.

However, I recently found myself wanting to publicly oppose what I and many other freelancers feel is a very poorly written piece of legislation before the U.S. Congress.

Continue reading “Don’t take my choice away”

The work (and journey) goes on

It’s not that I’ve been avoiding writing here (well, OK, maybe sometimes😉) but I’ve been pretty busy over the last several months. For instance, I’ve had several assignments from two clients, did some updates to this website, revised my resume and started to research essay writing as a possible new skill.

Then I’ve had some personal business to take care of and got my two shots of COVID-19 vaccines that aren’t really vaccines. (At least that’s what I recall reading in the forms I had to review and sign to get my shots. It was something about the emergency use authorization. Legalese, I guess.🤔 I think everyone saw the same form.)

At any rate, I’ve kept busy. My spirits were boosted by the work from those two clients, one of which is under new management and seems open to increasing the amount of work I do for them. That’s always good news. The second has been a steady customer, although not in quantity. But I knew that going into our arrangement. And this one just agreed to slightly boost my rate, so that’s good news.

Continue reading “The work (and journey) goes on”

Words and photos, photos and words

Photo by Mike McKibbin, 2007

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.

Photo by Mike McKibbin, 2017

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 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.

Photo by Mike McKibbin, 2015

Upon further consideration …

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.

Continue reading “Upon further consideration …”

Goal reached, mojo back

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”