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”

Pitching my pitch gets closer

For freelance writers like me, with a strong journalism background, one of the areas I’ve wanted to learn more about and give a good try is story pitching.

Instead of having an editor assign stories, the writer tries to convince an editor they should publish or post a story. As a reporter, I would often actually pitch story ideas to my editor. But one main difference was those stories often resulted from some event or news release I read that morning. And since stories, or content, is what newspapers, TV stations and any other news outlet need to survive, it wasn’t too hard to get my editor to say “go do it, Mike.” 👍

As a freelancer, I don’t have that relationship with an editor. I get asked by clients to do this story or that story, Continue reading “Pitching my pitch gets closer”

Maybe I beat the system, or the system is wrong

Nightmare 1At times over the last few years, it has seemed I’ve been stuck in place, even living a personal nightmare of sorts.

But I’ve finally managed to dig myself out and get headed in what I hope will be a positive professional direction once again. Some, maybe even a lot of, people may not think it’s a bright move to be a reporter or journalist these days, but it’s still what I aspire to be after all my years at a couple of newspapers.

I will be working for Continue reading “Maybe I beat the system, or the system is wrong”