Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It's not just news, it's people

Second layoff likely means —30— for journalism career

It was 2:30 in the morning on a late summer day in 1985 or ’86, I think, when the call came. The Carbon County Fair was in full swing in Rawlins, Wyo. that week, and until a tragic incident the prior afternoon, I had been tasked to “cover the fair.”

Instead, I was called away to cover a standoff in which a mentally ill man ended up being shot by police when he attempted to use a large knife to attack an officer. Authorities would not discuss the incident with another reporter at the paper, and my boss hoped I would have more success. And I did.

“Where do you get off writing stuff like this? You made my brother look like a criminal,” the caller said. The raw emotion in his voice was thick with anger, but also, I felt, with anguish. I recall imagining vividly that there must have been tears in his eyes as he talked.

“No, I don’t make anyone look like a criminal,” I responded, rubbing the sleep from my eyes and trying to keep my voice low so my wife, who had answered the call, could get back to sleep. “He did that himself. I accurately reported what happened.”

Monday, September 3, 2012

A greater gratitude for Labor Day

In December 2010 I was laid off and struggled for the next 19 months to juggle multiple jobs even as I searched for full-time work. This year, Labor Day is more than a day off. It’s a symbol of answered prayer.

It used to be just another holiday. In my book, Labor Day had some obscure relationship to work, but as far as I was concerned, it’s greater significance was that it meant a three-day weekend. I learned early on as a young adult that three-day weekends were a rarity to be appreciated, and so I did.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Change comes again with new job, new name for this blog

It’s been a busy month since I last posted. Change, one of the immutable facts about the universe, has been happening, and I start this month again writing about change, and changing the name of this blog.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Laid off at 51, picked up at 53: Eager to be a full-time journalist again

First off, I should apologize for writing so much. But I've been carving today's tome since yesterday.

Late last week, part of me was dreading the Monday ahead. It had the potential to be a tough day.

It was, after all, the second day of yet another month — in fact, 19 in all since the start of one of the toughest personal challenges I have ever faced. The second of each month has come as an increasingly bitter milestone of sorts. Some have been harder than others; some have slipped past with little fanfare.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Maligned media, Part 2: The truth will out, but it can take time

(Image by Stock.xchng vi)
Sometimes they shoot the messenger.

It’s an expression related to the idea of killing off the bearer of unwelcome tidings — as if the messenger really is to blame for unwanted or bad news.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Maligned media, Part 1: Sometimes the negative perception is justified

(Image by Stock.xchng vi)
Journalists often are a maligned lot.

I would blame some of that on the nature of the work we do, particularly in competitive markets or when a big news story breaks in a small town, drawing hordes of journalists.

In our most visible

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Then and now: Peaks and valleys on a journalist's career roller coaster

(Image by Stock.xchng vi)
Over the past 18 months or so, I have found that working through an extended season of un/underemployment can be a roller-coaster ride.

There are flat stretches when not little more happens than the passage of time. There are hills — solid job leads for which I must slow down and carefully consider my steps. Hopes rise with an initial email contact, then soar with a phone screening and the prospect of a face-to-face interview.

Until now, there has been a thundering, rapid descent into blackness — perhaps with the realization, a week or so later, that