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”

A welcome diversion in a time like this

I’m one of those people whose 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 arrived. 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”

Getting to some important stories

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”

A few kicks left after all

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”

History can be a blast

One of the things I’ve always tried to keep in mind as a journalist is the role the profession plays in recording history. That sounds a little high and mighty, doesn’t it? But in a lot of cases, it’s true.

News by definition is something out of the ordinary, the unexpected, the tragic. Yes, it can also mean something interesting without any of the more “hard news” aspects as a story. Feature stories fall into that category. Telling how something happened that may not have affected thousands or millions of people, the planet or any other species we share the earth with can still be important and worth reading.

I recently spent a lot of time looking back at some local history. Where I live on Colorado’s Front Range, Continue reading “History can be a blast”