A welcome diversion in a time like this

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”

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”

Time to determine my worth?

“Time is money” is a saying most people have probably heard. It’s something I’ve found to be true over and over again. And now that I’m freelancing, I’ve kept it in mind nearly every day.

Most of my clients pay per word or per project, only one pays an hourly rate. (They pay well, too, but it’s pretty sporadic.) To track how much time I spend on a project, article or story, I use Toggl. I’m using it now to track how much time I spend writing this blog post, too. It’s all career-connected, right?

One of the most recent stories I finished probably set a personal record. It was about the 50th anniversary of a Colorado municipality. Since the records Continue reading “Time to determine my worth?”