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”

Small town values are what we need now

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”

I dig digging in to find a story

Truth be told, I never found writing breaking news stories that hard. You’re really just telling what happened where and, if possible, why. It’s an important role for a journalist but it never really lit a fire under me.

Not so with most of the stories I’ve written over the last several years. As a freelancer, I get to pick and choose the stories I write. My clients are not interested in breaking news, although some probably wouldn’t turn it down if I learned of something that merited immediate coverage. They’re more interested in features and details, so I get to dig deeper and find an angle and a story.

My most recent case in point involves Continue reading “I dig digging in to find a story”

I’m not an enemy of the people

Over the last year or so, I’ve often wondered what someone who isn’t a journalist thinks when their profession is repeatedly publicly ridiculed and vilified.

Law enforcement officers, lawyers and politicians would probably fall into that category. Those who work in these professions — and maybe some others — as well as journalists have to have tough skins. They have to take criticism in stride and not let it stop them from doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.

For the most part, I’ve been able to keep moving forward in the face of criticism over the course of my journalism career, learning from my mistakes and taking steps to be a better writer and person. But when I heard about the shooting deaths of four journalists and a sales assistant Continue reading “I’m not an enemy of the people”

Ending on a hopeful note

So, 2017 hasn’t exactly been my year. Like many people, from what I can gather, for a variety of reasons.

For me professionally, it’s been pretty frustrating. I knew setting out on a freelance writing journey would be a long one. My time most of this year involved research, job applications, setting up profiles on content mill sites that I quickly realized were not a good fit for me (or a lot of others, from what I keep reading) and taking a freelance opportunity that kept me in an industry I was trying to leave. Continue reading “Ending on a hopeful note”