I strive to:
- Laugh at the absurd
- Not worry about the things I can't control
- Give my best effort in the things I can
- Never stop learning
This is as much for posterity as it is to remind myself to maintain a positive attitude toward all things.
I strive to:
Today I recorded my first solo news video in what seems like ages. I have not yet seen the results. I'll venture to guess that, when the final cut is ready to publish, it'll be obvious that I'm a little bit out of practice.
It's important to me to maintain certain proficiencies across the spectrum of what's considered news media. That is, while I consider myself a writer first, the job of a reporter is to obtain and report news, indiscriminate of medium. At his or her best, a reporter should have a certain competency with whatever tools are available to disseminate information to the audience at large (and, perhaps more importantly, to reach the audience wherever the audience wants to be reached).
Throughout my career in journalism, I've always looked for opportunities to use multimedia, the Internet and good old fashioned print to report news, I simply haven't done as much of that other stuff -- video, podcasting, etc. -- lately as I have in the past. In part, I've used this past year to refocus as a writer. I took my current job because it gave me the ability to zero in on a very specific beat, to take ownership of that area of coverage and to write about it every day (to that end, my byline has appeared more than 220 times over the course of the last calendar year, during which we've published every weekday).
Be it fortuitous timing or simply a dearth of fresh content in my publication's video section, we have had a recent push to produce more content. As a result, I've taken it as a challenge to reignite my own drive to do more in the name of reporting.
Today was my first attempt to get back into doing videos. And from that initial experience, clearly there is a little rust. From what I can tell after watching a short clip, I appear to have been doing my best unintentional robot voice. The dialog is a little rough, my voice is a little stiff. I'm not exactly a natural.
While I acknowledge I'm likely my own harshest critic, I'm going to chalk this one up to lack of practice. As with writing, I get the sense that stepping in front of a camera is a lot easier if it's something that's done with a certain amount of regularity. I write every day. In terms of finding news, talking to sources and turning complicated stuff into relevant information using the written word, it's something I am comfortable with because I practice every day. Right now, reporting on camera is a little more of a challenge. And it's something I have admittedly not practice much in the past year. Here's hoping more opportunities come up.
What happens when something you wrote online appears verbatim (and without permission or citation) in the local newspaper?
More of the story on BoingBoing.
So far, 2012 has been the year of domain purchases for me. All one week of it.
Altogether, I've added two new web domains and re-upped two others. Go Daddy must love me right now. Here's the shakedown:
The Itsy Bitsy Gamer is my new gaming blog. Mobile gaming only. That is the niche that suits me best. I'm hosting it through WordPress.
Schmaltz Tour is a personal lexicon of sorts. I intend to use it as an archive of nostalgic correlation. That is to say, it will be a personal blog where I write about various things and their definition within my own personal framework. I'm running that blog on Blogger.
I renewed Whistling Softly for another two years. That's pretty much my personal blog for various media I find interesting and photos I take of the things I see and places I go. It is a Tumblr blog.
Finally, I renewed Good to Know It. It's another Tumblr blog, and one I haven't really done much with. The initial idea was to collect random and possibly-useful facts. It could probably use more attention.
Now that I've got the domains locked up for another year or two, the next step will be to actually do something with them. I have high hopes right now for the Itsy Bitsy Gamer, as mobile gaming is something I have and always will be very interested in as an entertaining diversion. As for Schmaltz Tour, I have some pretty good ideas for it right now; my goal is, now that I've committed to the domain, I'll do something with those ideas.
Two years ago today, I moved to New York City in pursuit of a dream.
Two years ago today, I arrived in Manhattan without a job, without a home, and without a clue where my future would lead me.
That is to say, two years ago today, I had no idea what I was doing.
Two years ago, I let go of everything and made a 1,700 mile leap of faith.
Two years later, I’m glad I did it.
At the confluence of conflict and opportunity, I left behind everything I knew. I moved to New York at the trough of one of the worst recessions this country has ever seen. I left my hometown, my family, my friends, and my cat. I resigned the best job I’d had up to that point. I packed two suitcases and left everything else behind.
Dec. 13, 2009 fell on a Sunday. I said goodbye to Denver at roughly 1:30 p.m., and arrived in my new hometown in the early evening, just as a mild December rainstorm came to an end. It was only the third time I had been to New York.
To say that I didn’t have a home is inaccurate. I moved into a friend’s apartment in the Upper East Side, taking over her room while she was working abroad on a several-month assignment in Europe. In return for shelter, I served as an over-glorified cat sitter. I had no income and a tight budget, and the threat of returning home in defeat hung over my head for the duration of my first few months in the city.
From that point my job became the search for a better (or really any kind of) job. Tied to the cross-country move was the idea that New York is not only the greatest city in the world, but also the capital city of my chosen profession as a journalist.
Denver was slowly becoming a journalistic ghost town. Its oldest daily newspaper had shut its doors, community papers and regional magazines based in the Denver area were dying. Opportunity was limited to the highly experienced or those willing to work for a pittance. And the outlook was getting worse.
To me, New York was the home of the world’s best journalists, and most of its greatest periodicals, publishers and news outlets. It was everything I aspired to, and it was the only city that had a chance to overcome the cancer that has been eating away at the media industry. It was where I wanted to be.
I learned a lot about the city early on. It’s built on dreams and grounded in the cool cynicism of people who know better. New York is big and arrogant and no place to be poor. It’s self-absorbed and self-referential. It is no place for self-pity. New York is the home of terrible weather and loud complaints. New York doesn’t care what you think. New York is the greatest city in the world.
There is nothing easy about life in New York. The city rewards hard work and resilience, but never celebrates it.
For my own part, I know living within the five boroughs has given way to opportunities I would never have had anywhere else. I love my hometown of Denver, but to have stayed there would have meant surrendering my goal of a career in journalism. And besides, what is a career in journalism without at least a short stop in its capital city?
The last two years haven’t been without their challenges. But in those two years, I’ve grown as a writer and developed my career as a reporter. I’ve hit the point where I can call New York my home without the threat that, at any moment, I might fail and be forced to move into my parents’ basement a couple thousand miles away. I’m happy here. I’m living the dream, so to speak. And it is only getting better with time.
I’ve known people who have given what I do for a living a shot. And I’ve known people who have given life in New York a shot. I’ve also known a lot of people who never really tried. Within each of those categories, I’ve known a lot of people who have given up. I never wanted to be one of those people.
I’m happy with my first two years in New York. And I am forever grateful to those who have supported me, who have guided me and who never gave up on me. Whatever happens in the future, wherever life takes me from here, I’ll always have this.
An editor once told me that, "in this day and age of Google and the Internet, breaking a news story ahead of the competition doesn't really matter." In other words, no matter how hard I tried to cultivate timely, relevant news stories that would resonate with our highly specific audience, the whole idea of providing information, getting it first and getting it right was meaningless.
In a way, that conversation was a snapshot of that editor's vision of that particular publication's role in the larger world. It wasn't so much about providing news as it was content. Be it analysis, opinion, rewrites of press releases, whatever, it was more important to throw up a few simple, lazily-created articles that would easily fill up more "space" in a daily-updated site.
It wasn't about news in any traditional sense of running a periodical.
1: A report of a recent event; Intelligence; Information.
2. The presentation of a report on recent or new events in a newspaper or other periodical or on radio or television.
To this day I still have a problem with that editor's assumption that search engines and the Internet have somehow changed the entire definition of news.
The basic mission of a journalist is, simply, to provide news, and to do so in a timely, relevant fashion that resonates with his or her audience. Irrespective of how search engines and the immediacy of the Internet have changed the game, a journalist's purpose stays the same. That is, news is the reason journalism exists.
So when I reflect on that editor who didn't care about breaking a news story, my thoughts return to one simple question: If you're a journalist who doesn't care about the fundamental purpose of journalism, what are you?
This is my first update to this blog since creating the page sometime in January. Oops.
I've always found blogging to be a great creative outlet, where my opinion and thoughts can shine through more than they do through the typical - and ideally nonbiased - news story I write daily as a reporter. I'd like to think that, regardless of what I commit to words, my voice somehow finds its way into the work. For fun or for work.
But I've at least got an excuse for my general radio silence in the blogosphere.
It's been a busy year. Just about three months ago, I left my job as an associate editor for Bank Systems & Technology to become a reporter for FundFire, a daily news service owned by the Financial Times group that's focused on the investment activity of institutional investors and asset managers. It's niche. But it's good.
Over the spring and summer I also contributed to Pivot, a digital magazine of sorts that served as a guide to the mobile lifestyle, and was a killer feature of the short-lived HP TouchPad tablet. It was a great project, and one that let me expand my writing into critical analysis of consumer mobile apps. I joined the project as a freelancer, helping the company that put the magazine together assess and review various applications on HP's webOS platform.
This fall I wrote my first whitepaper, commissioned by a financial technology provider. It was a good experience, and got me into a style of writing that was essentially new to me: long form persuasive research.
So that's what I've been up to. I've had four jobs this year, and have spent free time exploring the city I live in and enjoying life among friends and loved ones.
I have considered coming back into personal blogging in some capacity, though I'm not sure how or when that will happen just yet.