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  1. abs Says:

    si que bueno.

    (insert upside down exclamation point here)Viva el espanol!

  2. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Speaking Kent and uncool… Says:

    […] City Manager Dave Ruller is sending mixed messages. One day he’s proposing a survey to find out what can make Kent cool, and the next day I read the Beacon and find he’s seriously considering a “sin tax” in Kent. […]

  3. Brandiana Says:

    ¿Qué tal Mariana? Me gustó que escribieras un ensayo de este tema. Sí, tienes razón de lo que has dicho. El español es tan útil. Pero yo aprendí este otoño que no se puede adquirir otro idioma sin hablarlo diariamente. Como mi amigo Franki me ha contado anoche- después de no haber hablado conmigo por un mes entero- que mi español ha mejorado un monton (sí, un monton se una como una cantidad. También se usa una chinga como una cantidad- que como una habladora nativa de inglés casi no tiene sentido a mi). Lo importante de lo que te escribo aquí es decirte que he conocido a una chinga de gente hispana desde empezar mi empleo como maestra en Canton. Hay una gran población de gente hispana allí (y un monton de ellos muchachos jóvenes y guapos). Pues hay una relación entre haber hablado tanto con varias personas hispanas y me haber puesto en situaciones en que quizás pueda usar este español que me ha costado $36 mil dolares y siete años de estudiar. Lo que sé ahorita es que he aprendido el español REAL- lo que se usa en la vida diaria y en la calle. Todavía no uso varias palabras que las reservo más para el uso por muchachos pero los entiento muy bien y puedo defenderme si alguien quiere usarlas conmigo. Para enseñarte un poquito del español de la calle te enseño lo siguiente… Look in the English part for the new vocabulary.

    English Translation for los gringos. :)

    What’s up Meranda? I liked it that you wrote an article/essay about this topic. Yes… You are right about everything you said. Spanish is very useful. But I learned this fall that it is impossible to aquire another language without using it daily. Just like my friend Franki said to me last night- my Spanish has improved a mountain (literal translation for monton) (yes, a mountain is used as a quantity. They also use a F*** as a quantity- which as a native speaker of English really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense). The important part of what I’m trying to say is that I have met a chinga (literal translation of F***) of hispanic people since starting my job as a teacher in Canton. There is a big population of hispanic people there (and a mountain of them are young handsome hispanic men). Anyway, there is a correlation between having talked with so many people and having put myself in situations en which perhaps I could actually use this Spanish that has cost me $36 thousand dollars and 7 years of studying. What I do know right now is that I have recently learned the REAL Spanish- the one that’s used in daily life and in the street. I still don’t use quite a few words that I reserve for the young hispanic men but you bet I sure understand them just fine and can defend myself if someone would dare use them with me. Well to teach you some street Spanish I will teach you the following…

    cabrón= rascal but is more like f*er, echarse un palo= to have no strings attached sex, amigos con privilegios= f* buddies, feria= a fair and also cash, no mames= don’t f* around, no manches= don’t kid me like that, bendejo= a*hole, pinche= like stupid or f*ing and is used as a modifier of cabrón or bendejo, puñal= knife literally but is the worst slang term in méxico for fag, maricón= gay man, joto= somwhere between the politically correctness of maricón and incorrectness of puñal. I could go on and on but the last thing I want to say is that depending on where you go and who you talk to those words may or may not be used. That is just as important as anything else. For example, my El Salvadorian amigo hates it when I used no mames or chido (cool) because those are Mexican terms. He uses n’ombre to mean no man, however, my Mexican friends use no guey. I got yelled at last night for using traer (to bring) all the time to talk about picking up my El Salvadorian friend- he thinks llevar (to carry) would be better, however, when I talked to my Hondurian friend he said traer is the only word he would use for such action. Well, I must apologize to you for making the blog comment perhaps longer than the blog… But you must admit this will be quite a lesson to all. What I learned most is that when I wrote in Spanish first it was quite difficult to find the exact words in English to express the same feeling. Languages really just do not translate literally. I used some words in this English part that I technically didn’t use in the Spanish part but they served me better. That phrase, of course, is a literal translation from Spanish- served me better. I wouldn’t normally use that phrase in English. Well, happy learning and I will be glad to enseñarte lo que quieras! Te amo mi hermanita. Eres tan inteligente. Cuídate.

  4. Katie Says:

    I completely agree. Thanks for sharing that link. I’m looking forward to reading the stories. Before I decided to pursue journalism as a career, I always asked a million questions, too. As a kid, I always wanted to know about everything. And still, when I meet people, I often feel like I’m interviewing them because I’m curious about so many facets of their lives.

  5. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » The patron saint of the Internet Says:

    […] I’m not Catholic. I don’t even pretend to remotely understand all the idols and saints and every concept that seems foreign and weird to my brain and my limited religious upbringing. However, this is where I draw the line. There is a patron saint of the Internet. What?! Or as one of the other editors put it, “So, he also gets to look over the 1 percent of the Internet that’s porn? Sounds like a great job.” […]

  6. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » The BlackJack? Says:

    […] All things considered, I still haven’t decided on a new phone (as I discussed in a previous post), but the whole lack of headphones thing may be a deal-breaker for the BlackJack. (Although, I have an iPod, so does it matter?) I also haven’t yet decided if the lack of wi-fi is a BlackBerry Pearl deal-breaker. It remains to be seen what company I choose to go with, which will depend pretty much on where I take a job. […]

  7. Jaclyn Says:

    HA! I admit, as a sort of Chicagoan (cause no one knows where Kankakee is), I have not heard that one. It’s FAB. Especially b/c even Bears fans don’t seem “ready” for them to go all the way. My dad’s a die hard, and during Monday’s game, he was convinced they were going to lose. I left home before the game was over, but I didn’t even think they had a chance the way he was talking. Well, the Bears won, and I’d hate/love to have been there when they did. Dad tends to … get into the game, ie: scream at the television. So believe it or not, that Barack statement is pretty radical for this area. Yikes.

  8. University Update Says:

    Why a crappy job market doesn’t scare me…

  9. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Vanishing Americana? Says:

    […] So, as I previously blogged about the NY Times ongoing series American Album, this MSNBC multimedia project (Vanishing Americana) is another reminder of the power journalists have to tell the untold or un-thought about stories. Seriously, when was the last time you considered the average age of barbers? (It’s 57.) And did you even know that milkmen still exist? (I didn’t.) […]

  10. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Apparently, I was wrong Says:

    […] So, as some may recall, I previously posted about why nobody would buy an MXZ saw because nobody sits around thinking, “If only I could cut through that cinderblock.” […]

  11. steve Says:

    i know them.


  12. Jessica Says:

    my little brother used to wait every

    I think you meant “wake” instead of “wait”

  13. meranda Says:

    Yeah. Good call. I fixed it. :)

  14. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Family gatherings, conversation Says:

    […] The finer points of Spanish insults from Brandiann and my dad (who picked up some terminology during his stint many years ago driving cab in Southern California). Since you couldn’t be there, I’ll point you to the comment left by my sister a few weeks back. […]

  15. Brandiana Says:

    Now, you can be a SUPER quasi-republican-linguist. So proud of you. ;)

  16. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Some notes about the blog Says:

    […] I am going to start in January doing a daily quote. (For those who don’t know, I’m obsessed with quotes.) I have a random quote in the sidebar already that changes with each refresh. But, I come across quotes I like every day. So, I think I’m going to start doing a “daily quote” or “daily inspiration.” It could be anything from something I read in a book to something I read in the newspaper to just a really good quote I came across. Today’s entry would be the one I just swapped into my e-mail signature: “Fate loves the fearless.” — James Russell Lowell […]

  17. Brandiana Says:

    Funny… I must have looked at this like 1 second after you posted it. The image wasn’t updated yet. Pressed F5 and there she was. I like it. Good choice!

  18. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » 15 seconds to tell the world anything Says:

    […] I may put something together. Maybe not. Either way, this is an interesting way to get users interacting with you. It reminds me of the videos of people singing Christmas Carols that the Springfield News-Sun gathered. It’s an interesting concept that can be used for other things… have an outpouring of support when local troops leave? or after a solider is killed/injured? Let the community either submit their own videos or have a station set up in the lobby or mall so people can come in and record a message for the solider/families. Other uses of course exist, but that’s the one on top of my head. […]

  19. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » QOTD: Better to fail in originality… Says:

    […] “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” — Herman Melville Also, I added several more quotes to the quotes page. Newer quotes appear at the bottom. […]

  20. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » More ethics of the Saddam video Says:

    […] Now that only further complicates the ethical decisions I talked about in my previous post on Saddam’s death caught on camera. Who could have foreseen something this terrible happening? But, isn’t it also our responsibility to plan for the unforeseen circumstances of life? :shrug: Not that I’m passing judgment on anyone who ran the video/photos. Most everyone did to one extent or another. But this does raise some more questions worth thinking about. […]

  21. Mindy McAdams Says:

    Nice post, Meranda! Those unprepared j-school grads are coming from ALL OVER. As you yourself wrote:

    “I heard what my j-school counterparts were (or in many cases weren’t) learning. I interviewed with editor after editor, each receptive to my skills and ideas…. They helped me realize what I couldn’t have known without talking to editors actually in the field: I got it. Apparently, too many of my peers didn’t.”

    Too many of your peers DON’T get it. But that is nothing but a HUGE ADVANTAGE for new journalists such as you, who do.

  22. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Kent doesn’t want to be ’sin’ city Says:

    […] I noticed this story on the Beacon’s site about Kent pushing for a sin tax on alcohol. I mentioned this previously in a post as one of the city manager’s proposals. […]

  23. Innovation in College Media » Blog Archive » Students ‘getting it’ Says:

    […] And Meranda Watling – “Why I shouldn’t have worried so much about finding a job”: Then I had a breakthrough. In November I went to a job fair. I attended discussions where I heard what my j-school counterparts were (or in many cases weren’t) learning. I interviewed with editor after editor, each receptive to my skills and ideas. They, several of whom I had contact with since, saw the potential that even I didn’t. They helped me realize what I couldn’t have known without talking to editors actually in the field: I got it. Apparently, too many of my peers didn’t. I was the prototypical new j-school grad, or as one editor later told me after a job interview, “the most prepared recent graduate for today’s job market” he’d ever seen. […]

  24. Jessica Says:

    When I read that article I thought “I bet Meranda is going to write about it on her blog,” And you did! hahaha.

  25. meranda Says:

    lol. Well, at the Stater we had to kind of embargo any type of MySpace/Facebook coverage because it seemed like we were constantly doing something about them. So the topics usually induce massive eyerolls from me. But in this case, it was kind of refreshing to see Dyer’s approach.

    I actually am considering stealing the idea to see what the kids in the districts I’m covering have posted on their pages. But I can’t get past one page of MySpace without a headache. So alas, they’re safe for now.

  26. Jessica Says:

    This is a disgusting idea!!!!!!

  27. Jessica Says:

    Also as for the professor thing, it kills me when they don’t use capital letters, full sentences, or even bother to sign the e-mail!!! To me, short cuts are unacceptable from professors!!! I had one last semester who gave notes in short cuts…

  28. RSS feeds from online newspapers » SOJo: Student of Online Journalism Says:

    […] Meranda Watling says her paper’s got a good mix of stories, but There is almost universally no importance hierarchy for daily updates. […]

  29. Why I’m a Journalist » SOJo: Student of Online Journalism Says:

    […] Meranda Watling has a great quote and a more in-depth explanation of this concept. […]

  30. Mindy McAdams Says:

    That’s a great quote! Thanks for posting it. I’m now going to make all my students memorize it …

  31. Melissa Worden Says:

    Meranda — I share your frustration. I wrote about this same topic a couple of days ago. There are so many missed opportunities. It’s a piece of the interactive storytelling too many newspapers are overlooking because they don’t have the resources. It’s a shame, too, because these graphics can generate a lot of page views.

  32. Melissa Worden Says:

    This one made me smile. I so remember this feeling.

    Just wait until:

    >> Your friends have kids — in grade school
    >> Your boss is younger than you
    >> You’re tickled pink when you’re carded
    >> Your 20-year high school reunion is just around the corner
    >> And you officially don’t feel as old as you are. :)

  33. Meranda Says:

    I think I can handle all of those, with the exception maybe of a boss younger than me.

    At 21, I realize that I’m not old by any stretch of the imagination, but seeing a package announcing “401K details!” does make you feel that way. Especially when you consider the majority of my friends still have parents paying their rent and spend Thursday through Sunday partying. lol.

    But, if it’s a sign that I’m getting old, I already have friends with kids entering grade school this fall (they got an early start, if you know what I mean). ;)

  34. Jaclyn Says:

    Brilliant, my dear. Way to make a fabulous first impression. By the way, I love your site.

  35. Jaclyn Says:

    I felt old officially on Sept. 23, 2006; my dad turned 50. I did so again on Nov. 4, 2006, when my mom did the same. My parents are in their 50s. That’s a half a century. Hm.

  36. Meranda Says:

    Hah. My dad’s been 50 for a long time. He’s quickly approaching 60 in two short years. My oldest sister is almost 40. ;)

  37. CampusByline.com » Blog Archive » Leftovers: 02-06-07 Says:

    […] + Thanks to Meranda Writes for linking to us. Clever name. + We don’t want to brag, but we blogged about the Girls of Engineering calendar all of nearly 8 hours before Paper Trail did. That’ll always make you feel good. + Blogging Illini details the sorrowful tale of the Illini Hockey loss to Ohio. + A follow-up from the Badger Herald on the Clemson blackface party. […]

  38. Jessica Says:

    I’m still trying to figure out the point of this one. I sure wish students would put fourth this kind of effort and passion towards something useful.

  39. Rachel Says:

    Thank you.

  40. Bill Sledzik Says:

    Bravo, Meranda! I show up for work when it snows and when it’s cold. Once students transition to the real world, they’ll do the same or they won’t have jobs. So consider this a training ground, albeit a chilly one!

    For those who complained about the 600 or so NEOhio school districts that closed for two days, keep in mind that they’re dealing with children as young as age 5. We don’t have students that young KSU, but judging from the whining I heard these past two days, you wouldn’t know it.

    Nice job with the blog. I wish more students would give it a try. And I wish mine looked this good!

  41. Jessica Says:

    I need to do this too. Good luck!

  42. Jaclyn Says:

    I feel the need to say this b/c I was so proud of myself for doing so: I stopped saying “like” after Tim talked to us at an SPJ meeting. I always thought it sounded so lame, and it was much easier to break myself of the habit than I thought it would be. A suggestion: Anytime you want to say “like,” take a pause. I found that I used it when I was trying to think, and the silence made me uncomfortable. When I talk to people, the silence is considerably less annoying than “like.” ‘Tis a noble quest you’re on — good luck!

  43. Meranda Says:

    Thanks for the advice and the good luck wishes.

    I’ve never encountered something I really wanted to do that I wasn’t able to accomplish. So, I’m confident once I actually take the time and put some effort into it, I’ll be able to at least significantly decrease the occurrence. I hope. :)

    And yeah, I didn’t get the SPJ group version of the lecture. It was always one on one personal attacks on my vocabulary. But the silence idea is a good one. I’ll practice that and let you know how it goes.

  44. Meranda Says:

    Jessica — I agree. It reminds me of the whole facebook newsfeed “movement.” It’s kind of ridiculous what trivial things can stir up the masses so quickly while other atrocities barely raise an eyebrow.

    Rachel — Maybe I should submit this as a letter to the editor. lol. I see the editorial board weighed in. The comments on it were interesting, if not immature.

    Bill — your content is probably way better than mine, so I wouldn’t worry too much about the looks. And I agree all the JMC students should keep blogs… if only so I can keep better track of what’s going on now that I’m not there. (Rachel, that means you.) It is a good practice in writing for an audience and almost forces you to read other blogs and articles to keep up with what’s being discussed.

  45. Dana Says:

    Kudos on your blog. Jaclyn got me hooked and I’ve added it to my daily readings.
    Considering how liberal New York is, I have to be a little surprised on all of the regulations on self-destructing behavior the city is instituting. It was a leader in the smoking ban craze that has hit our country, it banned trans fat and now there is a legal and illegal way to cross the street? Do we need to hold hands while we cross as well?
    What happened to people making stupid choices and paying for the consequences? I might be fined $100 because other people can’t walk and talk at the same time. Give me a break.
    Next up: making it illegal to have pre-marital sex without a condom.

  46. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » On being… the cutest kid ever! Says:

    […] Either way, these awesome portraits/interviews are a part of a new project by the Washington Post called onBeing. Reminds me vaguely of the NYTimes project I blogged about awhile ago, where they went around and found ordinary people doing off-beat things. Only, probably because Rob Curley sprinkled his magic on it, the WP project is so much cooler. […]

  47. Rachel Says:

    Haha … I actually attempted to start a blog around the new year, but haven’t kept it up yet (random encouragements to actually post might help me get started). But! We are starting the Stater blogs, and we’re going live Monday.

  48. Mindy McAdams Says:

    Give them a complete URL, with http:// and the whole shebang.

    If that doesn’t work, then it;s a permission thing in the … hm. I think it’s in the FlashVars. No time to check now. But you can fix this.

  49. Meranda Says:

    You are my new hero!! :) No joke. It works now. It actually works.

    At first I was thrown off because I could get the video to load without the control bar, but then I realized I’d need to give that the full URL also. And lo and behold, it all came together the way it should.

  50. Jaclyn Says:

    I went to dinner with my “aunt” and “uncle” last night (related only b/c all the right people got married), and he totally quoted this to me. He’s, among other things, a journalist (and writer, and photog, and Web site developer, and book writer, and … you get the picture). Very random. Was this in the news recently, or did you both really just drum up such a random quote at the same time? Another quote that came up: “A dream without a plan is just a wish.” It was said by Willye B. White, who died last week. She was the first American woman to ever medal in the long jump in the Olympics; she got a silver. (http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/biography.asp?bioindex=190)

  51. Meranda Says:

    It was a completely random occurrence. I have volumes and volumes of quotes here. (No joke, like huge thick books of quotes on every topic.) I came across this quote in one of those books this weekend. Weird. But it isn’t a good quote isn’t it?

  52. Kate Gladstone Says:

    Quite a few people still handwrite material longer than one sentence.

    Among the hospitals that call me in to prevent medication errors (by giving handwriting classes to the doctors), a fairly high percentage claim to have “computerized everything” 1 or 2 or 5 or more years ago … yet they still call for help with handwriting, because of a crucial 1% to 5% of handwritten documentation that just won’t go away.

    Doctors in “totally computerized” hospitals still scribble Post-Its (and not just one-sentence Post-Its, either) to slap onto the walls of the nurse’s station, still scrawl notes (often two or more sentences in length) on the cuffs of their scrubs during impromptu elevator/corridor conferences with colleagues … and, most of all, doctors with computer systems often have the ward clerks operate the computers, use the Net, or whatever: working, of course, from the doctors’ illegible handwriting on medical record sheets. Many record entries take more than one sentence: and the clerk usually has to decipher numerous pages of entries in one sitting.
    Bad doctor handwriting, incorrectly deciphered by ward clerks using the computer for any purpose, thereby enters the computerized medical record.

    And what happens when disasters knock out a hospital’s network? More than one hospital, during Hurricane Katrina, lost its generator, its electric power — and therefore its computer system — for the duration.
    Even the computer-savviest staffers in the disaster zone had to use pens. Let’s hope they wrote legibly.

    Kate Gladstone
    CEO, Handwriting Repair handwriting improvement service
    Director, World Handwriting Contest

  53. Tara Says:

    Oh goodness Meranda…you brought back some memories. I remember my first “Computer” class in grade school. I remember there were no word processing programs. We just typed on the prompt page, black screen with dull white letters…I don’t think my teacher knew what she was doing…

    And I remember playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago? And the originial Sega Genesis…I was the Queen of Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog….

  54. Tara Says:

    I can’t believe he’s not in JMC…he’s so talented it’s not even funny…

  55. Melissa Says:

    Can’t forget Fred ;)

    But it’s true, it’s so easy now…everyone has their piece of the web, and much of it is just a waste of space…how many drunken pictures can someone stick on myspace, how many quizzes can one post on their livejournal. Okay not that my first attempts had great content…remember those little bubble adoptions? But I did make them in PSP….it seems like the only time people make things now is for humor…youtube videos, macroing up random pictures…it seemed more creative/personal then. Which sounds really strange coming from a 24 year old…24 year olds are too young to be saying “well, back in my days on the internet…”

    I remember when I was 16 or so and told people I had a website they were impressed, now who doesn’t have…something

  56. Jaclyn Says:

    This is why I should read your blog at work; I had to swallow my laughter to keep from LOUDLY cracking up at your show catastrophe. Good job, Love.

  57. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Students download music illegaly, what else is new? Says:

    […] A few years back, when I wrote my “The price of downloading” story, I learned very quickly that most students were pretty much unwilling to pay to download music. […]

  58. University Update Says:

    Students download music illegaly, what else is new?

  59. University Update Says:

    student journalists strike … for not being paid?

  60. University Update Says:

    if it’s not a splog… what’s the point?

  61. Dana Says:

    There is one point that’s missing though. This isn’t about two camps of people: those who are there for the experience and those who are there for the money. It’s more about people being able to afford participating in the experience of student media BECAUSE the money exists.
    If you’re a couple months behind in checks from the newspaper, and you’ve quit your other job so you can devote yourself to that paper, it’s hard to just brush off weeks on end with no money (and therefore potentially no food, rent money, recreation funds, no way to pay for books, etc…) I know at least for the editor, they made sure I didn’t have another job and told me my salary was such that I could devote myself solely to my job at the paper. If I had go without my editor’s check for two months I would have had to get another job because that was my only income. My duties as editor certainly would have suffered because, as you pointed out, there just isn’t time to do both, and whether it was an official strike or not, I would have no longer been doing my job properly. An official strike was probably a more professional statement than the sloppy journalism that would have prevailed when all the editors took on 30-hour a week retail jobs in addition to running the paper.
    Not getting paid is fine as long as you know when you sign up that you are a volunteer. But volunteers know they need to adjust their schedule and fnances accordingly. These students did not.
    I joined student media for the experience, but my experiences were magnified by 20 because I didn’t have to hold down a part-time job at the same time. Otherwise I probably couldn’t have spared enough time to advance past the copy desk. Yes it’s a great way to learn. But the fact is if you’re told you will be paid, good experience isn’t going to buy you dinner.

  62. Meranda Says:

    Dana — I agree, you should be paid if you signed on to be paid. I’m not arguing with that at all. You are 100 percent right, being an editor, especially thee editor and having another job is not feasible. Trust me, I almost had a nervous breakdown the semester I was in print beat because I was working for the Burr, Fusion, proofreading for the Stater, working my beat, taking 16 credits and working 25-30 hours a week at the bowling alley. All on top of other personal issues. It sucked. But I managed, and I definitely came out stronger for it. I know you didn’t really know me then, but yeah, I have always been crazy busy. It’s my mode of operation.

    I worked another job until I became an editor at the paper and it was too much. After that, student media was my sole source of income. And it’s worth noting, my parents didn’t pay for anything. I didn’t even get birthday and Christmas gifts. In fact, I lent them more money than they spent on me during my college years. Such is the way of life.

    Somehow, I managed. I managed to eat, to have a place to sleep and to pay my bills on time. I even managed to save enough to buy two iPods, two digital cameras, a MacBook, etc. during college. I didn’t go in debt for these. I did go in debt for some of my tuition expenses that I probably could have worked harder to not carry into post-graduate life. Still, my burden is less than a lot of grads. I don’t know how I did it except to say I manage my money better than a lot of people. (And I don’t really drink, which saves a lot of money.)

    The point I was trying to make is that the strike is, well, silly. There are two reasons I’ll give for it’s uselessness:

    1. first, what’s the point of only some staff members striking? If the paper still comes out, what have you accomplished except making it more stressful for the staffers who chose to remain on. If you didn’t get the paper out, then what have you accomplished except depriving your community of its main news outlet.
    2. second, a strike is usually a method of last resort. seems to me, the university isn’t refusing to pay them, there was a mistake made somewhere. You can’t always fix mistakes as quickly or efficently as you’d like. Humans are imperfect, and systems are fallible.

    :shrug: That’s the way I see it.

  63. Amy Gahran Says:

    Hi, Meranda.

    You wrote: “The basic gist of the column is her making fun of the idea that people still read something as old fashioned as the news paper.”

    Hmmm, actually you might have missed a couple of important points which were in fact intended as the “basic gist” of my humor piece:

    1. I’ve decided to pay for a subscription to the print edition of the Denver Post.

    2. I’m giving print media another chance, despite my great skepticism about print media for news delivery.

    – Amy Gahran

  64. Dana Says:

    Well that was a side I somehow missed. I see your point a little more clearly now. Certainly my point about the journalism suffering is null and void if indeed the paper is still being printed. With a handful of staffers taking on the entire burden plus rebalancing their lives to make up for the lack of a paycheck, it certainly will lead to journalism that, well, probably sucks.
    I’m sure the students were hoping a strike would put pressure on the powers that be to get the problem fixed. But now the debate is, what kind of journalists would throw their paper to the wolves like that? I can’t imagine walking out knowing my cops and courts reporter was still killing herself to fill that front page. Ack!
    Not really related, but a point that I cut out of my first post was that in the sliding scale of pay, it is usually the reporters who get the shaft, working the same hours as editors with less pay. I don’t know how anyone does it–I was astonished every day by the work the people on the beat produced (I think it’s why even in grown-up land I’ve avoided being a reporter like the plague).
    Thanks for the reply and the clarification!

  65. Meranda Says:

    Amy — Thanks for the comment. I see your point, just some of the humor didn’t quite hit home for me. :shrug: But that’s fine. I am glad you are giving print another chance.

  66. University Update Says:

    AP black out of Hilton news?

  67. Jessica Says:

    I read that and found it incredibly good that finally the media chose not to revel in her stupidity. But I’m pretty sure the next day or something very close to that they ran a story on her driving with a suspended license. So, maybe they aren’t sticking to this!

  68. Meranda Says:

    Jessica — yeah that’s what the CNN article said. They broke their black out to report her arrest. But, apparently the week was over anyway. Either way, as much as I don’t personally want to read about her or any of her posse, I don’t know if turning your back on something completely is ever a good thing.

    But, it could be interesting if the entire mediascape blacked her out. Maybe she’d have to do something so out-of-character it’d actually warrant some coverage — like donate some of her millions to AIDS research or build a school in Africa or something so unlike her the mere fact that she was attached to it made it newsworthy. :shrug: As it stands, she probably couldn’t find Africa on a map. So no chance of that happening.

  69. Kali Says:

    I love how you apologized to me twice.

  70. Dana Says:

    I agree it’s extreme. And embarrassing. Way to go AP for pointing out the fact that you have been mindlessly covering someone who does unnewsworthy things — and now you have to make a big deal out of the fact that you aren’t doing it for one week. Do they want congratulations?
    I would have been more impressed if they just consistantly cover her like they would any other celeb — when she gets arrested, in a a car crash, donates a huge sum of money, helps save a beached whale or whatever. Leave what color panties she wore today to the folks at US Weekly — this week, next week and beyond.

  71. Dana Says:

    Great great great blog. I sent it to our Web coordinator to steal ideas from to make our online polls better. Thanks!

  72. Tara Pringle Says:

    You know Meranda, you might have graduated from KSU, but your name is always on the lips of professors. You are truly talented and visionary. I hope you remember little ol’ me when you reach the top :)

  73. Meranda Says:

    Tara — It scares me to think about people talking about me when I’m not even there. I hope it’s at least good things, though I may need to check in and make sure. ;) And I wouldn’t worry too much about you needing me to remember you, chances are if/when I do “make it,” you’ll be among those already there helping pull me up.

  74. Jessica Says:

    Oh, this was entertaining! However, I’d really like to assure you that Wal-Mart is always that creepy. Last time I went to one I saw a lady with a full mustache…

  75. Jaclyn Says:

    Indianapolis, my dear ;) Hope you feel better!

  76. Adam Says:

    So yeah. Definitely made me crack up during Art History. I think we all have our killer WalMart experiences.

  77. Andrew Schiller Says:

    To quote Studio 60 “does your ass hurt from sitting the fence so much?” Granted, this is your blog, you’re not under an obligation to do anything and it’s a pretty tough subject. But frankly, in terms of news, people just tend to read whatever is in front of them and pick and choose from that. They don’t usually complain about something that wasn’t presented to them. Paris Hilton was the victim of a black out? All kinds of things (Stalinism for example) don’t get a lot of coverage in the news. I’m not Stalinist, but reading about Paris Hilton is just as useless. Get her the heck off the page. The vast majority of people would not feel ripped off if they got their jollies by reading about something else (maybe something more educational, wholesome, whatever). Anyways, my random 2 cents.

  78. China Law Blog Says:

    Probably blocked because of its host, not its content. China usually blocks WordPress, LiveJournal and Blogspot blogs, but not Typepad.

  79. The Daily Journal Says:

    […] Anyway, for a school so seeped in student activism, the apathy found today — among students nationwide, though especially among Kent Staters — is disheartening. A fellow graduate’s blog informed me of a Kent State protest a few months ago about … the weather. It was too cold to go to class. Time to protest! […]

  80. Dana Says:

    You’re so right about the MySpace/Facebook coverage. Most people older than 30 know what MySpace is from expose after expose, news story after news story about “Do you know what YOUR kid is posting on MySpace?” and “Could a predator find your child on MySpace?” And now here again it’s MySpace that gets the spotlight still (and it’s almost positive coverage at that, a new one for MySpace).
    It’s odd that I have yet to actually meet someone significantly older than myself who has ever even heard of Facebook, but I find what NYT and the Post are doing to be encouraging. I hope the media will continue to embrace such interactions so as this first generation of Facebook/MySpace users grows up, they can use these sites for something a little more mature than showing off their underage drinking bashes.

  81. Tara Pringle Says:

    Hmm…my favorite JMC class? Probably Feature Writing. I thought I’d hate RPA, but I don’t. It’s not half bad. I loved Mag Design, too. Ah, to be a senior….

  82. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » IndyStar does polls right Says:

    […] You’ll remember my previous post about the wrong way to do polls. […]

  83. Mindy McAdams Says:

    Good post, Meranda. You’re right that it’s a GREAT idea to link to the story from the poll itself — and vice versa, for crying out loud! What could make more sense than linking in both directions?

    The fact that newspapers have been online for 10 years (and in some cases, even longer) and they still are not doing something this basic and logical really makes me scratch my head in disbelief.

  84. Jaclyn Says:

    It’s nice to see a kindred spirit. That quote nails it — I’m good at looking past the problems or finding something endearing in those problems. I find I’m often drawn to more melancholy people because of it. Actually, my closest friends can be described as such. Not sad, per se, but just … melancholy. Serious, perhaps. Do you find that about yourself, too?

  85. Jessica Says:

    At least I now know I’m not the only one with food issues and especially texture issues. Thanks. But how can you not like pizza? I was almost convinced that everyone was born with a love for pizza? If you didn’t like Midway’s popcorn, you simply don’t like popcorn because that was some of the best popcorn around.

  86. Howard Owens Says:

    My dad is 70. He’s had a computer for close to 10 years. He digitizes old 78 records and does digital photography. He keeps all his finances and watches his stocks on his computer. He follows home town news on his computer. He uses e-mail to communicate with many members of the family, including some who are older than him.

    Last week, my dad asked me to set up a blog for him.

    Your old lady wants the world to conform to her version of what it should be, but part of maturity is accepting that not everybody sees the world as you do, and that you have to accept the differences, even if that means sometimes those differences are right in your face. Your old lady doesn’t get to deny other readers the opportunity to know what’s on the web just because she doesn’t like it. Would she get to dictate to the rest of the readers if she didn’t want to see any more stories about Iraq?

  87. Dana Says:

    As you said, it’s supplemental–at least for now. This woman probably wouldn’t understand, but the print edition can’t have interactive maps and video clips and online polls and room for additional photos.
    If the 70-year-old woman is not interested in these things, than she isn’t on the losing side of anything. She still gets her newspaper, and as you pointed out, more news than before. She’d have a point if you were taking away her newspaper in favor of the Web. But because she doesn’t own a computer and doesn’t WANT a computer she wants others to not want one either?
    Right now this is a win-win time period for everyone who consumes media–visual, verbal and graphic learners are all getting gobs of options for consuming media. People who want to deny those opportunities to others because they don’t want them baffle me. How would she feel if (or potentially when) the day comes that the 20-somethings (or progressive 70-somethings =) say “Hey, I only read the online version and I don’t WANT a print version. It bothers me that it even exists and I think anyone who reads it should have it taken away even though it isn’t hurting my news intake at all.”
    Perhaps she senses that day coming and is trying to do her part to squash it early. *shrugs*

  88. Meranda Says:

    Howard —
    I don’t disagree with you at all. My grandparents are 80 and 85. They own a computer and use it to access the Internet, send e-mail and get photos of their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids who are spread out from sea to sea. (Granted they use dial-up, but they also don’t pay for cable or use the net enough to warrant high speed prices.) I’ve never talked to them about their news consuming habits except to hear everytime I stop by what shambles the Beacon is in, how it’s not what it used to be and how I should go save it. But I digress. Judging by the stacks of newspapers always on their table and the half-dozen magazine subscriptions that bear my grandma’s name, I’d say they’re still pretty much on the print side. That is expected. Still, they “get it” and realize that it’s not about them. It’s not that I think the woman wanted to punish everyone else, and it’s not like it matters if she did — she’s holding staunchly to the losing side. She knew her complaint was essentially like, I don’t know, peeing in the ocean. I just thought it was an interesting counter-argument I’d never come across or thought about before.

  89. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » How do you play the print-edition stories online? Says:

    […] I found a photo gallery of photos from Edwards’ visit to Cleveland, including the one prominently displayed on the front page. But it had no link to the story. (A huge pet peeve of mine. Why would you not link to the story from the photo gallery? As with polls, I’ve already expressed interest in this topic. Make it easy for me to find out more. Yet many places omit that simple step.) […]

  90. Adam Says:

    Next time we’re online together, remind me to send you my journalism scholarship essay…I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

  91. Tara Pringle Says:

    Yes, Miranda, I realized earlier this year that maybe I should’ve taken more web courses. Maybe I should know my way around some HTML.

    The web is not going anywhere and I need to embrace that, as much as I love the printed page.

    You raise excellent points. It’s good to hear from a young journalist. :) Keep up the good work.

  92. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Responding to Google searches Says:

    […] the person who searched for “video of someone hanging themselves” this afternoon and landed here because of my comments on the Saddam video. This is not the first time people searching for the Saddam clip have landed here, but this is the first time someone just wanted to see someone die. Seriously, this thought made my stomach flip. […]

  93. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Responding to Google searches Says:

    […] the legions of teens who’ve been searching for guidance passing the manuverability portion of their driver’s test, which I blogged about in my discussion of parallel parking. […]

  94. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Responding to Google searches Says:

    […] the many people who’ve been searching for “funny stereotypes” or its even worse cousin “funny racial stereotypes” and land at my post titled, ironically enough, Racial stereotypes ≠ funny. […]

  95. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Responding to Google searches Says:

    […] the person who could be my editor, for all he makes fun of my vocabulary, searching for “Like, you know, whatever” and landing on the post aptly named that. (And as an update, I am getting better at the like usage. But “whatever” is a hard word to quit. ;) […]

  96. Jessica Says:

    You are creeping me out. I just put that quote up as my AIM away message.
    That man is a genius!

  97. Jaclyn Says:

    Awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome. I have a new respect for Carl. Awesome awesome. It reminds me when I used to call Sean or Ryan and tell them the library was burning down. The first time, Sean believed me. The second 12 times, he didn’t. Come to think of it, I haven’t done that in a while …

  98. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » To twitter or not to twitter? Says:

    […] See, a friend commented on my wall about my status. For those not in the know (i.e. the few not on facebook — which you should be, I’ve been over this), on your Facebook wall there is a spot for your status. It says… “Meranda is…” and then whatever it is I’m doing, thinking, whatever. […]

  99. Meranda Says:

    Sean was the one whose idea it was to prank me. I should totally have thought ahead to a prank I could pull long distance for April Fools Day. I may steal your the library is on fire prank. Maybe for the day I’m going to be in town and they don’t know it yet, so I can laugh in person. Haha. ;)

  100. Sara Says:

    I had NO idea what twitter was until you sent me the invite. Is it something that just exploded within the last few days or am I really out of the loop? It seems pretty entertaining so far. :D

  101. Jaclyn Says:

    I went to the license site just, for the heck of it, to see if it would let me vote. When the site asked for my zip code, I thought for sure it would say “nonono, you’re not a Hoosier.” Instead, I got this message:

    Thank you for being one of 34,322 Hoosiers to have participated in the selection of Indiana’s next license plate design.

    Which means I got to help pick Indiana’s next license design. I wonder if that’s fair? ;)

  102. Meranda Says:

    It’s an imperfect system anyway. I could stuff the ballot and vote over and over, if I wanted. But :shrug: at least it involves the public in the decision.

    Which one did you vote for?

  103. Jono Says:

    Regarding political leanings on Facebook, it’s an interesting question. As someone who is majoring in politics as well as journalism, I’ve often wondered how much political stuff I should blog or comment about on the internet, given how easy it would be for prospective employers in the future to dig it up.

    As for just admitting a political leaning (and let’s be honest, most journalists have one… the good ones probably get accused of ‘leaning’ both ways), I don’t think that’s a conflict of interest. When it comes time to cover a story about politics, any journalist worth their salt will cast aside personal affiliations and cover the story as an impartial observer. Although, as you mentioned, there’s always the possibility of overcompensating.

    Moving away from the journalists-are-unbiased-professionals argument, perhaps it’s worth considering that a reader may be better off if he/she knows the political leanings of the journalist in question. After all, is a conflict of interest still a conflict if it’s openly declared?

    I never thought I’d say this, but I’m almost glad that Myspace dwarfs Facebook’s popularity here in Australia. There’s no ‘political persuasion’ section on Myspace, but I do have to endure it’s horrible design etc instead.

  104. Dana Says:

    I don’t list political persuasion because I don’t want to be written off. I find people to be very quick to pigeon-hole you, especially as a journalist, if you list one or the other. Either you are just another gear in the “liberal media” machine or you must be a die-hard Bill O’Reilly/Fox News lover. A baby killer or a bigot, and I just don’t have the patience to deal with short-sighted people, so I don’t list it.
    I prefer to vote on issues rather than party lines, and while I lean primarily toward one party, I can understand and agree with the views of the opposing party on many issues. It confuses people and that makes me happy in my own twisted little way.

  105. Dana Says:

    Awesome–I read through the whole thing. Hi, my name is Dana, and I too am a recovering over-achiever.
    I had a 4.1 GPA in high school and still only placed 20th in my class. That’s enough to make a perfectionist’s head blow up.
    I think the best thing that could have happened to me was getting a B in a class my first semester at Kent. The pressure was immediately off. While my grades were high throughout the rest of college, I didn’t hyperventilate every semester wondering if this would be the semester to tarnish my GPA.
    So glad there are others who understand. =)

  106. Bryan Murley Says:

    Emory & Henry College is inaugurating their new president in September 2007, although the president took office in June 2006. I thought this was odd as well, but apparently it’s a common thing in academia.

  107. Jim Hogshire, "You are going to prison" « ticket to read Says:

    […] April 11th, 2007 I think the title says it all. (This book reminds me of a quote my friend Meranda posted recently: “Read, every day, something no one else is reading.” What better way for a journalist to come up with ideas?) […]

  108. Reality Bites, NEPAL Says:

    Hi Clearly Meranda !!
    I like your page and elements that you really a great girl. I am also an engineering student and
    eager to jump on journalism but I think like your father, My family pressure should come the same
    direction like yours.
    Actually I found you when I am searching about roads.
    I am on the another edge of earth from yours and it is so much poor that we have
    no access road in the big mountains too. I think you had listened about Mt. Everest , NEPAL i.e. my country.
    Hopefully, you are being a journalist of The new york times, at one day
    you will certainly visit my country too.
    Reality Bites

  109. bhupendra Says:

    Awesome quote there. Loved it!

    Just wondering if you travel outside the boundaries of your nation. Have you visit a country called Nepal ?

    Step out that boundary, see some real poor people with magnificent smiles of the planet!

    have a great day today. I will be coming back to read your post. Didn’t know how to respond, just an amateur blogger…. but loves to promote a beautiful part of this earth… “Nepal”

  110. Cub Reporters' Guide Says:

    Thought you might be interested in CubReporters.org, an online career guide for young
    journalists and college students.

  111. Brad Says:

    Yeah, there’s something about the fact that this guy posed in that shot that makes it a bit more unbearable. If one of the victims had snapped a similar shot, it’d be documenting the horror of the day. This is almost glamorizing it.

    And as you mentioned, the friends and family of those who were killed by this man should not have to be confronted with this reminder of the last thing their loved ones saw.

    Is there a place for this information? Yes. Is it on the front page? Probably not.

  112. Karl Hopkins-Lutz Says:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t have picked me either, and I did inform them before they recorded that I had worked for the stater and they did remember my having worked there. They just asked me and my friends after they saw us watching the “Suck Countdown” on Heavy.com.. so they kind of picked me. And I think that there were better parts than what they selected, but it’s their thing and they picked it and me and edited it as they saw fit, so yeah, let ’em start it off. And my story was just one that was on my mind, nothing new. Hopefully they’ll find someone good in the future.

  113. Reality Bites, NEPAL Says:

    The quatation seems to be very much inspiring and I think that everyone should be more
    concern about character than reputation about himself.
    But our society, that creates pressure to neutralize character and enfores REPUTATION as
    a major parameter in society.
    Reality Bites, NEPAL

  114. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Unprofessional photo? No degree for you. Says:

    […] I blogged in detail about this earlier during my own job search: Managing your online identity […]

  115. Innovation in College Media » Blog Archive » Conley: Failing to learn, failing to teach Says:

    […] Our focus here is helping the next generation of journalists train for the future. But part of that means understanding what’s going on with the current generation of journalists. Paul Conley sums up the major tragedy that’s taking place: failing to adapt. Go read what he wrote. If you’re like me, you’ll cringe at some of the quotes, and weep at the results (read more via Meranda Watling). […]

  116. abs Says:

    i’m getting ready to walk to main st. coneys, and thought i would post on your blog. the end!

  117. Get online and adopt and oldie : Andy Dickinson.net Says:

    […] But the impact isn’t just on those leaving. Those new to the game suffer too. Paul picks up on a post by ‘new’ journalist Meranda Watling Thing is, the industry is being flooded with “kids” like me. Bright-eyed and ready for anything, willing to take everything on and to become an expert on whatever you put on the budget with our name beside it. Willing to learn. If there’s someone there to teach us. […]

  118. Dana Says:

    Wow wow wow. My husband has a photo on his profile of him “snorting a coke line.” The coke he is allegedly snorting in the photo is either baking powder or some other white powdery cooking substance. Funny. Do we remember funny?
    I absolutely agree with you. If a school who is thinking about hiring this girl says “We don’t want to hire you because we don’t want your students to see photos of you like this,” fine. My husband was very aware of this risk when he was applying for jobs and chose to make some info on his profile private.
    But I don’t know anyone who ever would have graduated based on this standard of “professionalism.” The photos in the Stater banquet programs alone would have been enough to strip half the j-school of degrees. Is the university’s administration so dense they don’t realize that? The precedent this sets if it is not overturned is mind-boggling.
    Question, what do you think about universities using profiles to decide whether or not to accept a student who has applied to go to school there? I haven’t heard about that happening yet, but it feels it could be close at hand.

  119. Dana Says:

    The weekly I worked for had several sister papers. Each employee had to come up with a column name upon being hired and columns are shared among the papers if relevant.
    One of the new employees chose Tossed Salad as his name and wrote a column his first week. The column ran in several sister papers before it got to my office and someone caught it. I never heard of anyone writing in to complain, but ugh!
    The guy was young, so I’m not sure if he was totally unprofessional or just more pure than my friends and I. I’m hoping it was the latter.

  120. Katherine Says:

    Your story reminded me of myself in 1979 when I got my first job 400 miles away from home at a small, daily newspaper. I knew nothing and no one, but I was eager. The beat reporter whose job I took left before I was hired and everyone at my paper seemed too busy to help me. So I sought the institutional knowledge elsewhere; I went to the people in my beat.
    Of course, they all gave me their perspective, but it helped me figure out who the players were and how things connected. I spent a lot of time taking sources to coffee picking their brains. They seemed thrilled to give me their version of the “truth” and they seemed thrilled to think that they were the ones swaying and shaping my opinions of their school board.
    Having talked to so many of them from so many different sides of the story (union members, teachers, board members, secretaries, etc.), I believe I got a really great view of this beat. In my case, this institutional knowledge came literally from the institution itself. It may not be as objective as the information you’d get from your fellow reporters, but if you have the time, there are lots of people in your beat who’d love to bend your ear.
    Good luck to you.

  121. Charles on… anything that comes along » What a swell Independent leaving party that was. Sort of. Says:

    […] Meanwhile the Indie will hire in some more people (one hopes) and they’ll try to figure it all out. Accidental link: if you want to read what it feels like for a junior reporter trying to work out where the institutional memory all went, see Meranda’s blog; she’s just started working at a paper in Lafayette, Indiana (no, it’s nothing to do with the Indie). Read her post, and how it feels coming in: […]

  122. Bryan Murley Says:

    If it makes you feel any better, the same thing happens in Dallas/Fort Worth every year on Nov. 22. For five years while i lived there, i wondered if the metroplex would ever get over that event.

  123. Reality Bites, NEPAL Says:

    I like your cool feelings.

  124. Maria V Says:

    That’s the mark of a professional journalist — no assumptions! :)

  125. Brad Says:

    Working in radio, I have this bad habit of asking someone their name, recording the answer, and then promptly forgetting that name.

    This is especially true when I’m doing person on the street interviews where I meet dozens of people in a matter of an hour or so. I feel like my recording is a safety net, but as often as not I’ll get back to the office and listen to the tape only to realize that I can’t quite make out what they said.

    I’ve lately taken to repeating people’s names when I meet them. Lucy, why do you think crime is the biggest issue facing Philadelphia? Or at the very least, thanking them by name when the interview is over.

    Spelling doesn’t matter as much in radio (unless you’re posting a transcript online), but it’s still important to get names and pronunciations right.

  126. Jessica Says:

    As sad as it is, it’s ABOUT TIME. This past season was garbage, but that’s what happens when you get a new team of writers and last seven years. At least the station is being wise about this and not letting it go on to be the next 7th Heaven…?

    As for Harry Potter, I’m so happy that the book is coming soon, but ever so sad. It’s an end of an era!

  127. Meranda Says:

    Jessica, you are right, and I know and resent it.

    Man, I used to watch 7th Heaven every week! I used to LOVE that show, and then they started graduating from high school and it was downhill from there.

    I have to say, Gilmore Girls is the one show I know of where graduating from high school didn’t signal the long, slow slide toward utter crap. If anything, the show got better as Rory headed to Yale. (I mean, 90210, Saved by the Bell, Dawson’s Creek, and so forth. All the shows failed miserably at transforming the adolescent high schoolers into mature college students. And they all suffered deaths long after their time.)

    But you’re right, the new writers are so/so, and they’ve definitely been taking too many cues from soap operas and throwing in everything and the proverbial kitchen sink of drama this season. I guess, it’s hard to imagine everyone keeping that up for another season. I will still be sad to see Stars Hollow and its citizens fade into obscurity. I’ve always known it would end one day, and I always had a hunch that would be the day Rory graduated from college. But I was holding out hope.

  128. Mindy McAdams Says:

    You’re an omnivore, so you have a skewed perception. Think about the thousands of U.S. children who receive free school lunches because of financial need. And many of those kids have working parents. Can they afford a monthly cell phone bill? Can they afford a home Internet connection? Then think about older Americans. Not the well-off ones who takes cruises to Alaska. No, the ones who cannot afford their prescription medicine even though they have Medicare or Medicaid. There are 280 million stories in this country, and our newspapers miss a lot of them.

  129. Tara Pringle Says:

    Yeah Meranda, I do agree with you. I was really excited to do the project, but the end result is not what I had in mind.

    I think Ryan did a great job putting everything together. I want to sit down with him and pick his brain. But I did think the package
    was missing a lot of links back to content. I got lost frequently while trying to access the different portions and I knew what was all supposed
    to be on there.

    Our team did, in fact, interview our councilman and videotaped it. I wonder where that is? TV2 site maybe? I dunno.

    But overall, great comments. You have amazing insight.

  130. Brad Linder Says:

    Well, considering the website currently features nothing but news releases and event listings, this is probably a step up. At least a real person with critical thinking abilities will be monitoring Council meetings and conducting long distance interviews to get some actual news and information on the site.

    I’d hate to see a major news outlet decide to cut costs by firing local reporters and hiring distant ones. But as a baby step toward adding more news to a small website I’m not sure I’d dismiss this idea entirely.

  131. Tara Pringle Says:

    Um, yeah, people calling you kiddo? Happens to me ALL THE TIME. Most memorable occasion? During labor. My doctor came in and said, “Are you ready to have this baby, kiddo?” Ugh. I was too preoccupied to object, as you can probably imagine.

  132. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Age goes both ways Says:

    […] This is a follow-up to my “young but respectable” post earlier this week, when I lamented the fact that everyone feels the need to tell me I look, sound or am young. […]

  133. Bryan Murley Says:

    Wow, you are young. The original donkey kong was an arcade game, along with my nemesis Astroids. ;-)

  134. Jaclyn Says:

    I’m going to say something that will make you hate me: “Kiddo” wouldn’t bother me at all. Not even a little. I love that I’m one of the youngest people in my newsroom (only one full-timers is younger than I), and I love that I do just as much work as people who’ve been here for 25+ years. I like to think that the fact that I’m younger makes it cooler. But maybe that’s just me.

    I did an interview once and the man told me that when his wife saw my mug shot in the paper, she asked, “What is she? 12?” I laughed my butt off. Because when people see you’re young, they expect you to be unprofessional. When you’re not, they are pleasantly surprised, and they like you. But they still see you as young, and, for whatever reason, are more likely to open up.

    Eat it up, my dear. Because while you’re complaining that people view you as a kid, I’m sure your boss or coworkers are complaining that people view them as old gray-haireds. And I’m willing to bet it’s MUCH better to be in your shoes :)

  135. Meranda Says:

    Jaclyn — I don’t so much mind people viewing me as younger as I mind them not viewing me as professional. I am proud of where I am and what I have accomplished, especially given my age. But my age presents another hurdle to jump, which I gladly do. The phrase kiddo just puts me on edge because it implies that what I’ve accomplished is less because I am so young. It’s not; if anything, it’s more.

    And it’s funny what you say about the long-time employees. I’m the youngest of a mostly young newsroom (there’s another guy a month and a half older than me who started here about a month before me). We have some discussion about age/generational differences once a week. Yesterday it was about popped collars and how my editor’s generation championed the trend the first time around. ;)

  136. Meranda Says:

    Bryan — I did know there was a DK for the original nintendo, but I only ever played the “original” one for super nintendo. I didn’t, however, know it was an arcade game long before I came to love it. It’s like hearing a new song I love and having my mom tell me it’s not as good as when (insert your choice of artist circa 1990 or before) sang it.

  137. Jaclyn Says:

    I just had one of those interviews, too! She’s a dorm mom at a local university, and she grew up in South Korea. She watched her mom kill herself when she was five, and she forgave all the problems with her dad and stepmom (there were many) from a single Bible verse. She wasn’t a Bible thumper; she was a woman whose life was genuinely changed by religion or spirituality or God or whatever it is you like to call that. And she’s this beautiful 40-something woman with this fab accent that had me asking her to repeat every other sentence. We met at a local café, and it was hard not to hug her when she left. Yay, cool interviews!

  138. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Interview formats Says:

    […] The turning point I think in the benefit of e-mail as a information-gathering method for me was last month when I wanted to confirm some facts and ask a few follow-up questions for the story I wrote about amazing students being rejected by Ivy league schools. I e-mailed the main source and asked him maybe two follow-up questions. He replied and wrote me a long, thoughtful essay about what it was like for him to go through the process of applying to the elite colleges. I mean seriously introspective, way beyond what I’d been able to get from the interview I conducted with him at his school. I considered using a quote from it, but then I decided it should stand on its own. It told the story so much better than I could hope to, so I took the e-mail to my editor and asked to run it in its near 50-inch entirety online. We did. […]

  139. Charles Says:

    I can believe that he was a great interviewee. But I’m not sure you caught the pathos of it quite right. Take this as the gentlest suggestion, but I think you could try it at least three other ways – leading with the proudest night. Leading with the first day he drove and why he’d signed up. Leading with what he thinks he’ll do the first day he’s *not* driving.

    Try them. See if any is better. See if the story runs better from them. Perfect intro (lead), perfect story; imperfect intro, imperfect story.

  140. Meranda Says:

    Charles — I think you’re right that there are any number of ways I could have written it differently, and some may very well have worked better.

    I chose the lead I did because I was trying to focus on the impact he had on the community padded by details of his career throughout. That also lead to my choice of anecdotes and quotes later on. Perhaps I could have included more detail about the student in the lead — you could hear how heart broken he was to learn his bus driver was leaving as he overheard my interview with him, which spoke volumes of the type of driver Serie was to the students. They looked up to him and considered him a friend (a point I thought using the quote where the 7 year-old-calls the 68-year-old by his first name made).

    The problem with having too much material and too little space and time to write what you want is there’s always the thought of how you could have done it differently if you’d had more or less of anything. It is what it is, but thank you for your suggestion. Maybe I’ll practice rewriting it through to see if I like any of them better. It’s quite possible I will, and either way it’s a good exercise to go through.

  141. Charles Says:

    The problem with having too much material and too little space and time to write what you want is there’s always the thought of how you could have done it differently if you’d had more or less of anything.

    Welcome to newspaper journalism!

  142. Maria Varmazis Says:

    Thanks for the heads-up on this community. I’ve been on LJ for 6, 7 years now? And yet I didn’t know about that community (it is now very much on my friendslist). LJ has such a unique vibe, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of interesting things come up in that comm.

  143. NewsCat Says:

    Coming from Jay Rosen’s Press Think your post reminded me of my (brief) days working for a small 6-days-a-week newspaper in rural Ohio. While the managing editor was someone who left a big city paper and took a paycut to move back to his original home town (he was usual) the rest of the newspaper was staff by “big city kids” from Cleveland and Columbus (I was from out-of-town as well).

    The thing about institutional knowledge is that I think it’s something you just have to absorb as it happens. I don’t know if there’s a “rushing” process. If your precessor had been there before you started that would have helped but he or she couldn’t have downloaded his or her store of knowledge directly to your brain. However there’s something to be said for having someone on staff who knows more about the town than you.

    For example, the police beat reporter (who’d been there four years) had been the government reporter before and walked me through a city council meeting. The most important thing he showed me was to show up 1/2 hour early to the city council offices before the bi-weekly council meetings. Why? Because if I didn’t the “unofficial” city council meeting would happen right then before the “official” meeting started.

    Essentially I was there to babysit the city council so they didn’t make every decision in private.

    It was a good tip to have. Not that I got any stories from it, but at least I learned something that I probably wouldn’t have picked up on for a while.

  144. Andrew Dolph Says:

    Thanks for the kind words about our work at the Gazette. The majority of what we have produced has been with the program, Sounslides, (see: http://www.soundslides.com) created by Joe Wiess. Rami has indeed authored the website and is primarily responsible for its maintenance. Look for a completely new and fresh redesign of both The Gazette Photojournal, and the front-end, Medina Gazette sites. We’re counting down the hours to launch time.


    — Andrew

    Staff Photographer, Medina Gazette

  145. Reality Bites, NEPAL Says:

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  146. Lola Sanchez Says:

    In a certain city in Texas, the strip clubs are being attacked by the city’s vice, courts,etc. I was a dancer for four years until I decided to hang up my heels. Yes, I agree with you. This article should have been more informative esp. in how it deals with the average citizen. In the newspaper in my city, there is a writeup everyday about the strip clubs and the new restrictions that the business may be slapped with. As a former stripper, I know what disadvantages the restrictions can cause. Maybe the paper ran out of useful ideas.

  147. Mindy McAdams Says:

    It would be great to poll the Dispatch newsroom about this — I would bet that all reporters and editors who worked on the story were men. The reason I think so: If I had been the copy editor, I would have stripped out most of those adjectives. They’re not only unnecessary; they are also poor writing. But maybe if you regularly read Hustler magazine, you are just used to that writing style …

  148. Howard Owens Says:

    Compliments: Learn to say, “Thank you. That’s very kind.” Even if you feel the embarrassed, or that the compliment isn’t deserved. I used to be like you in this regard, but there is something empowering about accepting a compliment for what its worth. Use that to your advantage.

    Kiddo: If you weren’t respected, people wouldn’t use enduring nicknames. Take “kiddo” as “I like you and I think you have potential — you’re going to be a good one.”

    There is no substitute for experience. That’s a statement you can’t even fully grasp without experience. I remember I got turned down for a job on the San Diego Evening Tribune’s editorial desk because “I didn’t have enough grey hair.” I was a good enough writer and smart enough, but the lack of experience, I now see, made my insights far to shallow to suit their needs. As I’ve progressed in my career and moved higher up, I can see every day how experience plays a role in helping me do my job. It isn’t just enough to know what I know because I learned something in a book or from a teacher or mentor — being able to see situations or decisions through the context of experience is a whole other level of thinking.

    Go to YouTube and look up Ira Glass … he has a series of videos about making video .. but much of what he says applies to any creative pursuit (which includes newspaper reporting).

    You’re obviously good and smart. Let your work speak for itself, accept compliments, and don’t worry about being seen as young … us older folk are only jealous, anyway.

  149. John Strawser Jr. Says:

    The project was done by the School Of Visual Communication at Ohio University. It was a project of about 40 people from coders, designers, journalists, & more.

  150. maria Says:

    Yikes! One wonders what exactly that detail is supposed to contribute other than (sorry) titillation. It’s funny, I was going to say that this would be a hallmark example of why we need more diversity in the newsroom—but it looks like the reporter is a woman herself, so I’m just scratching my head on this one.

  151. Howard Owens Says:

    Welcome to real world journalism …

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  153. Jaclyn Says:

    Often, a phone call where you politely (however difficult that is) point out that you did all this stuff will suffice and make the person feel like a jackass.

    I did a 10 Commandment series for Lent, and the very first story that ran explained what we were doing and why. It also said that I was using the King James version of the Bible so as to avoid confusion; different Bible versions group the commandments differently, resulting in different commandments (they all say the same things, but not always in the same numbers).

    In any case, I got a voice mail from an older man who asked if we were doing an April fools joke because that commandment wasn’t about killing, it was about honoring your mom and dad, and how could we mess that up, and he knows he paid attention in church, and obviously we don’t know what we’re talking about.

    I called him back and asked if he saw the very first story in the series. He said no. I told him how it pointed out which 10 commandments we were using for the sake of confusion. “There are more than one?” He was flabbergasted and a little embarrassed. He apologized. I was polite, but when I hung up the phone, I might have flicked it off …

  154. Jaclyn Says:

    Or maybe it did its job. It got people talking about it. People hear about the details, then rush to read all the dirty details. Sounds like something most reporters strive for in their work: sparking discussion and making people seek out their work.

  155. Charles Says:

    What I find strange is the remarkably pompous way it’s written, as though the writer had discovered a race of pygmies on a distant island in the British Victorian era and was reporting the news back to the amazed populace at home.

    And yes, it is short on those gristy details of how many clubs, how much money. As for “she opened her door – at the Dispatch’s request – ..” WTHI that supposed to convey? Plus, is that her real name? Because for someone who doesn’t want the neighbours to know, she’s sure going to have a lot of identifiable detail out in the public domain now. Including, umm, her photo.

    I have to say, as a British journalist, I *really* don’t get American papers.

  156. Charles Says:

    OK, here’s my rewrite of the intro at least.

    Lisa Dunn is a stripper. Lately she’s got involved in politics. While that on its own isn’t unusual – a stripper made mayor in Georgetown, Colorado in 2001 – what is different is that Dunn is getting involved in politics so that politicians will stop interfering with her work. The politicians, she says, want to stop people interfering with her.

    Hmm, think I wrote it away to an inside page..

  157. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Realistic expectations better than dashed hopes Says:

    […] When I graduated, I knew I could and would do amazing journalism no matter where I landed. But I’ve always felt there is a lot you can learn only by doing, so in truth, I wasn’t ready for the big leagues. Sure I want to work at the top someday. But I want to be sure I have a solid foundation. As Howard Owens posted in reply to an earlier blog post: “There is no substitute for experience. That’s a statement you can’t even fully grasp without experience.” […]

  158. Howard Owens Says:

    You’re not the first reporter to miss a story. And it won’t be the last story you miss.

    Do you job. Do it well. Be a good person to work with and supervise, and so long as you work for good editors, you’ll have very little to worry about.

    There are worse things than missing story.

    If you’re working with and for good people, there is all kinds of forgiveness.

  159. Mindy McAdams Says:

    Great post, Meranda. It’s so personal and so well told — I can easily imagine how tied in knots you must have felt. Howard’s right — you will screw up again, because we all do. It’s normal. And your editor knows that too.

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  161. Meranda Says:

    I know you’re both right, that in the long run this story is not a big deal. Fortunately, I was able to work it into my package about superintendents, and it was only further evidence of the trend I was pursuing.

    But the sinking feeling at missing the story isn’t why I felt bad, nope. It was sending my editor an iChat about him. But yeah, luckily, he got over it and hasn’t mentioned it since. But I’m still keeping him out of my iChat conversations from now on. ;)

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  164. Ben Breier Says:

    To set the record straight: the city editor at the Dispatch, last I checked, was a woman. This wasn’t a bunch of males running around, squirting testosterone everywhere, as you claim.

  165. Brad Linder Says:

    Have you contacted Associated Content about this? While the service may or may not be a scam, the goal would obviously be to scam writers into producing content for very little pay — but they do pay.

    Convincing them to withhold paychecks from this plagiarist might have some impact. At the very least, they could probably suspend her account.

  166. Dana Says:

    Definitely did the same thing about a month ago, except it was an e-mail.
    The boss had been sitting on a stack of Web items that needed edited all day and sent them my way for a second read near the end of the day. About 15 minutes after he sent them to me, I overhear our Web editor asking the boss where they are. The boss tells her in a shocked tone “You don’t have them yet???? Dana must still have them.”
    I’m in the middle of giving them a final read when the boss calls me in and tells me in an admonishing voice I really need to get those to the Web editor ASAP.
    Annoyed that the boss spent five hours ignoring them and then — instead of apologizing to the Web editor — painted it like it was my fault, I sent an e-mail to the Web editor explaining what was really going on.
    And totally sent it to my boss instead.
    Wow. While my e-mail did redirect the blame to my boss, it did also defended him by explaining that he was swamped that day because of some staffers being out, so it wasn’t too awful, but still.
    Luckily it was Friday and he was aching to get out the door so the aftermath wasn’t too bad and it was never brought up again.
    My review isn’t until January *crosses fingers*

  167. Tara Pringle Says:

    I’ve written for Associated Content as a way to make some money. They pay, but it’s not very much.
    Depending on the article, you could get paid about $20. The most I’ve ever gotten paid for one article
    is $11 and it was less than 500 words. But there’s no real standard for reporting on there. I think citizen journalism
    should be called something else. I like to think that what I do is an art, is a craft that I’ve worked extremely hard to perfect.
    I hate the idea that people who just get the urge one day to hop on the computer and write something, end up being taken
    seriously as journalists. Where does that leave me? Us?

  168. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Do I want an iPhone? Heck yes! Says:

    […] However, I really do want one. As was evidenced by my extensive knowledge of the phone, it’s pros and cons, what it does have (and more importantly, what it doesn’t… hello, no video camera, no flash, no data storage, no aim?). The reporter who was writing the local story for today’s paper asked me, after I corrected him seriously like five times because he kept calling the stores and asking about the iPod because he just sounded silly, if I just spent the day reading press releases about the iPhone. Uh, no. But I have been following it since I first heard about it, way back before I even started here. […]

  169. Reality Bites Says:

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    But you have one ipod-video too……..What to do that……

  170. Howard Owens Says:

    GateHouse Media New England has lots and lots of openings.

  171. Jaclyn Says:

    I think I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one, dearie. Sure my high school stuff was, in retrospect, not nearly as rockin’ as I thought it was when I was 16 and 17. But I highly doubt anyone who’s hiring is expecting brilliance from a 16- or 17-year-old. I bet they’d just be impressed to know a potential hire was ambitious enough to get involved in high school or collegiate journalism. I would think that would speak more than an article about the history of the death penalty that has nothing to do with anything (not that I ever did that when I was a hs sophomore or anything …)

  172. Meranda Says:

    Thanks, Howard. I passed that tip on to my job-hunting friends.

  173. melissa Says:

    I’m still unsure of what to buy computer wise. I’m between wanting a Macbook, or a really nice (non-dell for once!) laptop. Either way, now is not a good time to buy what with a new operating system coming out for Mac in Fall….and Vista being…Vista. I hate decisions!

  174. Jaclyn Says:

    *claps* I’m so proud of you! I have to admit — that you e-mail while driving? I find that slightly (read: enormously) terrifying. I only just became OK with talking on the phone while driving, and that’s only if I know the route.

  175. Sue Palmer Says:

    “the endless immensity of the sea” eh? Has anybody thought of how long endless is, and how LITTLE there is to do after a while on a ship? Such thoughts would make me give up entirely. Now, thinking of all the many places the ship I was helping to build would travel, and that I would help them do it…now THAT’s incentive!

  176. Melissa Says:

    Well, the whole job hunt thing I am glad is over…but if I ever want to leave my job and come back to PA I’ll have to do it all over again, and that lone fact might make me stay in NY forever…which is a bad reason.

    I’m just watching, and reading, about the educational job slump in PA. There may be teachers retiring or on the cusp but there are more than twice the amount to take their place…and everyone seems to want to be at their home district, even the youngins…not wanting to move to another part of the state, or another state all together.

    Are you covering the teacher hiring there?

  177. Melissa Worden Says:

    >>I don’t know why I feel compelled to check for new e-mail that has arrived since bedtime and dawn.

  178. Melissa Worden Says:

    I don’t know why I feel compelled to check for new e-mail that has arrived since bedtime and dawn.

    That’s too funny! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who does this! :)

    Some more wise advise from that article: “It turns out that when you’re always hooked in you’re also always on edge.”

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  180. Mindy McAdams Says:

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  181. Jaclyn Says:

    I’m intreigued. Can you send me a few copies at work? The Journal’s addy is 8 Dearborn Square, Kankakee, IL 60901. It sounds like your paper is doing exactly what we want to do, but in the desire, the actual process has … uhh … some kinks.

  182. Bryan Murley Says:

    Actually, it might be the first commercial paper to switch to berliner, but I believe there were college newspapers using the “tall tab” format prior to July 2006, including the Daily Mississippian and the Northern Star at N. Illinois U. (who were both using this format in Fall 2005, although it wasn’t called Berliner.

  183. Nick Says:


    Here’s a front page, at least

  184. Grace Says:

    What are the actual dimensions? In Europe a faux-tab format is pretty common (as are the extrabroad sheets): http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/default.asp?tfp_region=Eu

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  186. Dana Says:

    Kudos to you…I never quite got over my talking to strangers fear. Sources who were expecting me or any number of celebs or rock idols whom I set up interviews with…no problem. Sure I can chit chat with Tori Amos like we’re old pals — but walk up to Joe Blow in the Student Center?!?!?!? egad!
    I wish I had approached such assignments with your mindset. I just got it stuck in my head that it was nothing I could really change.
    But I love working the copy desk, so I suppose it all worked out.

  187. Grace Says:

    I also still never quite got over the talking to strangers fear, although I did become a LOT more outgoing in the course of my j-school education. I think I might have gotten over it if I’d thrown myself into it like you did, you know, making it do or die. (Sorry, the copy editor in me could not contain herself.)

  188. Maria Says:

    Thank you for your honesty — I’m still there, nervous to pick up the phone. Oddly I find it easier to talk to people in person rather than on the phone (strangely ironic in that most of my interviews are phone-based). You’re right, it’s that thrill of accomplishment that’s both exhilirating and humbling isn’t it?

  189. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Staff and wire reports, eh? Says:

    […] I mean, I understand the “localize this” and see the point. But as I’ve discussed before, it’s weird and interesting to see your words intermingle with someone else. […]

  190. Jaclyn Says:

    Yowza, can you say depressing??? I’m going to disagree with Ms. Lee. When I write, I most certainly do not die inside. If anything, I’d say the process and product reaffirm life. I feel quite alive when I produce, especially when I’m proud of the final outcome. Granted, that happens more with poetry than journalism, though the occasional newspaper story does it, too.

  191. Kate Bigam Says:

    I called home to make sure my house wasn’t floating away or anything… but yes, newspapers work for such things, also. PS, The Bluest Light is dead. Replace it with me? Haha, I’m still an Ohioan, too.

  192. Grace Says:

    So true. The industry is small enough that you could easily know a few people at newspapers in each state after a few years, and that translates into ultimate mobility. (I got my current job by knowing people who gave me the heads up.) Granted, it’s talent that keeps you inside once you get in the door, but networking is painless and pays off.

  193. Ben Says:


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  194. abs Says:

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    come visit me. i have lots of room. it sort of reminds me of your apartment, in that it’s really bare.


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  195. Kate Bigam Says:

    We’re all gonna meet up with one another again – somewhere at the top.

    See you there.

  196. Kate Bigam Says:

    Broken link to your list…

    Anyway, I remembered I had a list, too,so I tracked it down… and discovered that one of my goals was “Become a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center.”

    I started last Tuesday. Whaddaya know???

  197. Meranda Says:

    Kate, that’s freaking awesome!

    One of my goals is join the peace corps. I came so close, but sold out for a real job to get real experience. But I fully intend to sometime in the next decade find my way to Africa for a few-year stint making a difference.

    (P.S. Fixed the link, apparently I had an extra ” in there. Oops.)

  198. Kate Bigam Says:

    Sounds nice – I don’t know where I’ll end up. I love D.C. and so far want to stay, but it’s only been two weeks! I like to think I’m fairly adaptable – I could live just about anywhere, I think, except the deep south. So it’s reassuring to hear about friends who move to palces they’d never expected & are doing as well or better than they’d hoped.

    And if you ever want to visit the newly opening Newseum… give me a call, yes?

  199. Mindy McAdams Says:

    I have to say, I love your blog, Meranda. You have great heart, and your honesty is astounding.

    What you’re doing by staying at the J&C will certainly make you a stronger journalist. On the other hand, this would have been a great move, it seems: “It would have doubled my circulation. It would have meant a bigger town, closer to home. It would have had more online/multimedia every day. It would have been everything I will be looking for in my next job.”

    In your case, I’d look at it this way: Either choice is a different path. You don’t know — and I don’t know — which one would be better in the long run. But the thing about making a choice is, after it’s made, the other choices cease to exist. They are in an alternative reality, not the one you live in.

    I was offered a spot in the Peace Corps 20 years ago, but I had just gotten a job at a publishing company in New York. I stayed in New York. I have never regretted my decision, but it’s always weird to think how everything in my life would have been different if I had taken the other path and gone to live in Costa Rica for two years.

    It’s not something you regret, but it’s something you have to live with — comfortably.

    As for LJ — it’s too bad s/he accepted a job s/he didn’t want. But it happens. And the advisers are right — the employer will not show you any consideration or loyalty in most cases, so if a dream job falls into your lap, you need not lose any sleep over the decision to move on.

    On the other hand, I’m not too jazzed about LJ’s tone. Something about it, beginning to end, just sounds like “ME! ME! ME!” I don’t think I’d enjoy working with LJ. So maybe that means LJ will not be offered the dream job in the end. Or maybe the offer will come, but the other place won’t actually be losing much when LJ leaves.

  200. Meranda Says:

    Mindy — You know, it would have been a great move. And that’s why I think I may be crazy (and I think the other editor thought the same!) for not jumping at it. But I think and hope you’re right that sticking this out will make me stronger.

    As for regret? I obviously don’t regret my choice or this would have been a much more whiny entry. It has happened already. It was flattering if nothing else. I will only be bitter if I dwell on it on days where I feel like I hate my job, and reminding myself “I could have jumped ship” won’t make sources get back to me or a story write itself. Lamenting it won’t get me anywhere. (Plus, I already wasted tears on that and moved on a good long time ago.)

    The thing that really made it a no-brainer for me, though, was that I actually like my job today as much as I foresaw myself liking the other job back in December when I interviewed. There are other aspects about my job today that I really enjoy and know wouldn’t have been a part of the other job had I taken it. I’ve also been afforded some awesome opportunities here that I probably wouldn’t get elsewhere. I guess I took the easy way out, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t?

  201. Ryan Says:

    I know, I know, it still sounds pretty vague. I’m working on a mockup so at least I have a prop to point to when I try to explain that it’s like Twitter, but with some Digg, and a little bit of Facebook thrown in, but it could be written in Django really easily, although WordPress would be simple enough. And thanks for the add!

  202. Howard Owens Says:

    Life is full of choices, and you’ll always wonder, what would have happened if I had taken that job …

    When I was a young reporter, two weeks into my first daily job, an editor I really wanted to work for at a paper I really respected (and was known as launching ground to bigger and better things), called me and said he had an immediate opening he needed to fill quickly.

    I declined the interview. I explained that I had promised when I took my job I would stay for at least a year. I thought he would respect my honoring my word.

    I never got another chance at a job with him.

    And the job I stayed at was almost a career ender.

    On the other hand, if I had taken that other job, my career path would have been very different. I wouldn’t have married the woman I married. I may never have even met her. Life would have been very, very different.

    The big question: Are you happy and learning where you are now? If you are, then you made a fine decision.

    But, in the future, you really should make job choices based on your career goals and growth. Loyalty is good, but it’s not everything.

  203. Dana Says:

    Well considering within nine months of graduating you have been offered both a job you like a lot and your dream job, I wouldn’t be too worried about lack of opportuities in the future. You might not get another offer from that particular company, but dreams change and so do dream jobs.
    Can’t say I’d have your same fortitude. I stayed at my first job for two years–it wasn’t even CLOSE to being my dream job. If I had been offered another gig I would have jumped ship right away.
    However, I didn’t get that magical phone call. And after two years in a less-than-stellar job, I was qualified for jobs I never thought possibe. When I realized I’d learned all I could and started to get burnt out, I felt comfortable actively moving on.
    So yeah–I say you’re making a good choice. I’m just glad I didn’t have to make it.

  204. Ed Says:

    Its either brand new or used. A 2008 truck leased or purchased and returned or traded in today with any amount of miles on the odometer would be considered a used truck. Call some local dealers and ask if they have any used 2008 trucks on their lots. I bet they do. (They might prefer to call them pre-enjoyed vehicles). Either way a used truck is a used truck.

    In short, there is a difference between a new vehicle and a brand new vehicle and it is important to make that distinction in a news story in which a new or brand new truck is the subjet.

  205. Dana Says:

    My advice: strike the word “new” from your writing vocabulary to force yourself to get those extra details, such as the year of the car. I’d say 99 percent of the time, not only is the word “brand” useless, but so is the word “new.” The most obvious example is “the city built a new park” (as if they could build and old one–I know you know this and that your situation is different). But I usually find if it’s worth noting that something is new, it’s worth a couple extra words.
    Here’s what your editors meant. Let’s say someone’s house burned down, so they had to move to a “new” house. It doesn’t necessarily mean the house was just constructed last week and never lived in before–it could just mean it is “new” as in it is not their old house. Sometimes “new” is used as a synonym for “another.” And if the house was built last week, that sounds like it might be a significant detail worth more than a one-word or even two-word modifier.
    This is why I generally demolish the word “new” from copy. The family moved. Period. If it was a never-before-lived-in-shiny house, and that is an important part of the story, I find another way to explain that. If it’s not important whether or not the house is “brand new,” I just say they moved. “Brand new” sounds a little too “Price is Right” to me.
    The case I run into a lot: One of our reporters will say a company is moving to a new factory in Atlanta. I have to find out if it is really “new” or just an already existing empty factory. This is significant because it plays into how much the company spent. So I usually say “Rubber Co. moved its headquarters to Atlanta. The company spent 1.8 million to build the facility.” Or “The company found a building that better suited its needs for $600,000.”
    Did you ever have a class with Candace? She’s the one who beat the “brand new” thing into my head.

  206. Charles Says:

    “Brand new” to me suggests unwrapped – never opened (or for a car, never driven or used in any way). “New” could mean “very recent” but doesn’t – weird thing with cars – omit the possibility of “used a bit”.

    So for collectors of, say, toy cars, “brand new” has a specific meaning, I’m sure.

    Thus with a car you might have a brand new ’58 Chevy. As in, never actually driven anywhere; just sat in a garage being polished occasionally. Possible, yes?

    So I don’t think “brand new” was a tautology here. But it’s one of those phrases that when you hear you need to ask “what do you mean by ‘brand new’?

  207. Meranda Says:

    I thought about it, with all of your input, and I think I agree that brand new added needed context on this story.

    I think my thinking is most in line with Dana, here. (And to answer her question no, I actually managed to graduate without ever having Candace!)

    At least I’ll be more cognizant of my usage in the future — and avoid it whenever possible. Thanks for the feedback!

  208. Howard Owens Says:

    We all have to start some place …

    In my first full-time salaried job, I made $13,000 a year, which even in 1988, wasn’t much money.

    Two years later, I was earning the princely sum of $24,000 a year — the second highest paid reporter on staff. I still had to share an apartment with a friend who was on food stamps.

    I’m sure I don’t make as much as your superintendent friend even now, but I do pretty well.

    Work hard, set goals, stay focused … it works out.

  209. Meranda Says:

    Howard — I don’t mind my pay. Honestly. I am about where I expected to be when I started and consider that I could have done much worse. (Though, if someone wants to throw more money my way, I’d take it. ;) Not rolling in money, but I can pay my bills. It was just amusing to me, almost cute, how skewed his perspective was.

  210. Jaclyn Says:

    Wow, you’re close to your sources. I don’t know that I’d ever be comfortable talking about how much I make with people on my beat, and pastors tend to be pretty nonjudgmental.

  211. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » A step in the right direction at Ohio.com Says:

    […] I’ve discussed some of the practices that annoy me on every site, but especially Ohio.com because I frequent it. […]

  212. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » A step in the right direction at Ohio.com Says:

    […] I’ve discussed some of the practices that annoy me on every site, but especially Ohio.com because I frequent it. […]

  213. grace Says:

    The only other thing that I think of immediately is “All the news that’s fit to link.”

    I love the altered motto—so postmodern.

  214. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Only a college paper could get away with it… Says:

    […] I am reminded of an instance at the Stater where I probably reacted a little too harshly to the use of the word WTF in a headline. In hindsight (a year’s time and 350+ miles distance from it), maybe it, too, was just a fun way to get the point across. And I suspect that headline, like this refer today, probably got a few more students to want to know what was so important that it broke the “no cursing unless absolutely necessary to get to the essence of the story/character” rule. I know once I got over laughing, I read the story. […]

  215. Meranda Says:

    I do like “link” instead of blog.

    I tried to pull it up to show my M.E. today, but sadly now it appears the Times has swung the pendulum back in the other direction. Instead of blogs, they’re hawking home delivery from that location on the page. What a shame.

    I’m glad I took a screen shot while I could.

  216. Teaching Online Journalism » We need a tourniquet Says:

    […] Showing a wonderful knack for walking a thin line between cheerful acceptance and justified complaining, Meranda Watling tells us what it’s like to be the youngest reporter in the newsroom: […]

  217. Sean Blanda Says:

    -Got to your post via Mindy-

    I have to say that this was one of those rare blog posts that made me want to give you a standing ovation. While I cant pretend to know what its like to *really* work in a newsroom as a permanent job, I have had internships where the above scenario played out exactly.

    And I mean exactly. I think the problem is mostly organizational. Its hard to change when you have been doing things for X years. Its even harder when it has to go through 5 layers of managers, editors, and gog knows what else.

    Get up the good work! Subscribed.

  218. Sean Blanda Says:

    err.. thats “keep” up the good work

  219. Anon Says:

    Posting anonymous for obvious reasons. I read your post through Mindy’s blog and I have to agree with you 100 percent.

    I worked in a newsroom for almost five years and from day 1 I tried to get some better Web stuff going. In five years, the Web site improved, yes, and they launched a podcast and a few blogs.

    But the podcast folded when one of the tech gurus left and nobody stepped forward to continue the podcast and they didn’t want to hire someone to continue the podcast.

    Still no RSS feed. One poor guy is doing the whole Web site. When will they get a clue? Granted this was a smallish paper. I loved working there but sometimes my head met the desk from the clueless attitude when it came to technology.

    Now I am at a different paper (because of a family move, not because I wanted to leave). I feel like I am at square one. Same issues. No RSS feed. No blogs. No audio for crying out loud! I wanted to do a story with audio and a slideshow and I’m told I have to wait until DECEMBER before the Web guy will add the enabling software. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is (but you can probably understand).

  220. Ryan Sholin Says:

    @Anon – A solution: Become the ‘web guy.’ Or better yet, help him out. Record the audio, get the photos together, and use iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to cut together an ‘audio slideshow’ in the form of a video file. Sign up for a YouTube account and post it. include a link in your story, and you’re off and running.

    The ‘web guy’ is always going to be overworked and buried in requests, until the paper hires more ‘web guys’ or the company that owns the paper makes the Web a high enough priority that it forces re-organization on the paper.

    Having been the ‘web guy,’ I speak from experience.

  221. Meranda Says:

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. It sounds like things could be a lot worse for me. In fact, I knew all along I have a pretty good thing going here. I really can’t complain. I just need to put my head down and keep plugging and hoping I do get some of those opportunities I’m longing for and that my feedback does make a difference, as I hope it will. I’m not the type to become disillusioned. I’m too much of an optimist, and as I pointed out in my reply to Mindy’s post:

    The fortunate thing is unlike many of the comments on the Newsosaur and even my post, I’m not at a paper where simply copying and pasting is good enough. They are pushing for more online in various realms. I’m just not getting to be as big a part of it as I’d like. And that is what frustrates me because that’s where my interests lie.

    The thing I also realize, and don’t think I made the point clearly in my post, is that I don’t blame my company or bosses. I feel I am responsible for my own destiny. The reality is, I am doing what I was hired to do. So in light of the fact that I now know I need to prove to my editor I can clear my plate and leave room for dessert (the blog, video, etc.), I’m just going to have to work harder to make that known.

    I guess, what it boils down to is I’m scared of being left behind. I’m scared of all the opportunities every one else is getting and I’m not. (Though perhaps from all the comments, there are far fewer people getting these chances than I imagine, which makes it all the more imperative.)

    I want to try new ideas. And if I fail, so what? I’m 22. I’m going to fail a lot in my life. And if our papers fail at a new venture? Well, what is there to lose that isn’t already being lost? As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I’m just not sure how to get them to let me try. From all the comments here and elsewhere, that is really the problem everyone is facing. We all want to try, but how? I’m working on that. And I don’t think we afford for any of my peers (in age or in mindset) to give up on finding a way. I know I won’t be any time soon.

  222. patrickbeeson.com Says:

    ‘Brain drain’ greatest threat to newspapers

    This entry comments on Alan Mutter’s blog entry titled “Brain Drain,” and provides my perspective about how newspapers aren’t taking advantage of young, technologically savvy employees who are leaving the industry for other jobs.

  223. grace Says:

    I read the first installment of this—the amount of reporting put into it is phenomenal and shows the dedication the reporter had to showing the Phoenix from the inside.

    But honestly, I’m not a fan of the short sentences you called out. They add emphasis only the first time or two they’re used, and after that it just feels like a crutch and even distracts from the otherwise stellar writing. Example:

    “This is like doing patrols in Afghanistan,” he said. “Except we’re not as well-armed.”

    This is the Phoenix. [end section]

    That is an incredible quote, and repeating the same annoying Phoenix line after it is so distracting.

  224. Josette Says:

    God save the Exponent. I miss that paper a lot.

  225. Will Says:

    thank u for posting this…i just noticed my plug melting…but its way at the fraying stage…im sad…i was actually gonna go to the apple store and leave a very good parking space (i live on campus at a very crowded school)…but now i know i can call…thank u so much : )

  226. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » An education tumblelog? Says:

    […] I’ve been thinking for several weeks about how I would like to create an education blog to complement my beat coverage and stories. But, as I mentioned in a previous post, it was kind of shot down for my perceived lack of time to keep it. Enter the tumble log. […]

  227. Zac Echola Says:

    Meranda (and everyone who feels like they’re in Meranda’s shoes);

    Just do it.

    If you have time to clear your plate of regular journalism work to also work on a blog, or get video, or cut audio, or whatever: just do it. Find a free web host for your content (like youtube) and give the link to your ‘Web guy.’ He knows what to do with it.

    Don’t bother asking permission. It is easier to ask forgiveness.

    I know exactly where you are coming from. If you want to see change in your organization, you have to be that change. And teach others along the way.

    It’s slow and it’s painful. But organizational change always is. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’m still there. Don’t let the organization of your job keep you from doing the best job you can do. Ever. It’s simply not worth it.

    Other ways to spend your time:

    Encourage your sources to write blogs and link to them from your stories.
    Drop the pad and paper for an audio recorder. It’s a bit of a shift for some, but what was once purely record keeping now duals as multimedia opportunity.
    Get documents in PDF form where you can.
    Know how your sources manage spreadsheets, and ask for that data.

    Good luck!

  228. Josette Says:

    I ran into a similar editorial/online wall when I worked at my campus newspaper last semester. It’s a difficult barrier to break, especially with logistical and space issues. Hopefully synergy will come to you sooner than later.

  229. Melissa Worden Says:

    “… the online people are more techies and personalities don’t mesh with the word folks in the newsroom.”

    This makes me so mad. (I know these are their words, not yours.)

    And I’ve heard several times that I’m not a “real journalist.” Excuse me? (Never mind the fact that I have the education and print experience.) I write, edit and design stories. I decide the best news placement. I follow, sift through and present breaking news. How am I not a real journalist?

    True, some small newspapers may have a true “Webmaster” who works with only code. But we HAVE to get past an us vs. them mentality.

    Bravo to you for helping to bridge that divide.

  230. Good reads for 10.13.07 : the x degree: exploring and redefining multimedia storytelling Says:

    […] >> Online producer = journalist. Really. If we EVER want our news organizations to survive, we have to stop this us vs. them outlook. Meranda Waitling says one of the reasons the online department at her newspaper isn’t in the newsroom is “because the online people are more techies and personalities don’t mesh with the word folks in the newsroom.” (Words of others at her paper, not hers.) […]

  231. Meranda Says:

    Melissa — Trust me, I, too, was surprised to hear the reasoning. I understood the part about advertising also heavily using online. And I would have understood if they’d said there is no more room in the newsroom for anyone else (we’re cramped as it is in a too small space with too many people and departments). But I couldn’t even respond to this, and I wished one of the online guys (I know you’re sensitive to that, but they’re all men at my paper) had been there to help me out. I think it’d be great to have them around so when one of us has an idea or goes, “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” They’re right there already talking about how it could be done. Plus, then I’d get to work with them more. Because I see myself as striding that line that supposedly separates us as word folks or techies. I’m a bit of both, and I like it that way and think that’s what journalists should be.

  232. Howard Owens Says:

    I don’t think moving the online department is going to necessarily help the newsroom evolve/change.

    If it can’t change on its own, the physical proximity of the nerds won’t improve matters.

    The newsroom needs to change itself.

  233. grace Says:

    A website you might like: http://www.zipskinny.com

  234. cyndy green Says:

    Yeow! Don’t get sucked into believing size is everything. I used to work in TV with the $50,000 plus camcorders and now I’m shooting stories with the Exilim (definitely NOT in the same league) because it intrigues me. Which is more important – the gear or the story? I’m finding that although the consumer cameras present their own special challenges (read hard to use controls, not the high quality, etc), the storytelling is pretty much the same.
    And by the way, the training was using a still camera w/video abilities – so the staff was learning how to shoot and edit video.
    Something I see in looking back at my years in news is that often the professionals get caught up in one-upmanship. We compete at levels the public isn’t even aware of. Split second editing. Nuances visible only to the trained eye. Some of this matters because it subtly affects the audience. Some is just plain showing off to peers.
    Something Richard Koci Hernanez (http://www.multimediashooter.com/( said: It’s not about you – it’s about your audience. Some tools make the job easier. Some tools challenge you to become better.

  235. Josette Says:

    Outstanding. Dare I ask what local race this JibJab mashup video was mocking? I’m out of the local loop.

  236. Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media » Saturday squibs Says:

    […] Feeling amateur. Mulling the idea that giving newspaper staff anything less than pro-level gear makes them feel less professional. Personally, I’ve never bought into the by-our-gear-ye-shall-know-us mindset, which seems to put the emphasis on the wrong things. That’s just me, though. […]

  237. Howard Owens Says:

    The “small camera is embarrassing” POV is new to this debate.

    I don’t buy it. In the past two years of handing out small cameras, no reporter has said “this is embarrassing.”

    It’s all mindset.

    Also, to put a finer point on Cyndy’s response — when she writes about the small cameras and photographers, she’s referring to Canon HV20 camcorders, not the Casios.

    One thing we’ve found previously is that when we hand out bigger, more expensive prosumer cameras photographers fuss about all the extra equipment and time to set it up. Now they complain (not the same group to be sure) about the size of the easier to use camera.

    Unfortunately, there is no middle ground here — either you have have the more professional looking kit (which really has no quality advantage on the web) or the eaiser to carry and use HV20.

    And from past experience, reporters won’t use something like the HV20 because it gets in the way of taking notes for print stories, it’s “too bulky” and involves more shooting-related work.

    I don’t think it’s hard to explain to a source what you’re using, doing and why — most reporters tell me sources are intrigued by the whole thing, and by the second time they see a reporter with a small camera they’re used to it.

    It’s all mindset.

  238. Meranda Says:

    Howard — I agree it’s all mindset, my mindset. That was my point when I said “I should just act like it’s just another day and nothing out of the ordinary. And that’s how people will (hopefully) perceive it.” Not just other people, but myself.

    I can’t speak for every reporter who has ever been handed a camera, but I can speak for myself, and whether you buy it or not, I’ve been embarrassed. And this from a girl who never leaves home without my personal point and shoot and who, you can ask anyone who’s ever gone anywhere with me, is not shy about using it. But that’s for a different purpose. My experience w/the paper’s cameras has nothing to do w/camcorders, so I can’t speak to that.

    It’s just something I have to get over, which was what I intend to do.

  239. Kate Says:

    Not everyone can be as technologically in-the-know as you, dear.

  240. grace Says:

    Two things:

    1: You were an awesome technology and finance reporter.

    2: I know Jackie Jones—she was one of the instructors at my Dow Jones Newspaper Fund training camp at Penn State!

  241. Susanne Says:

    Sorry, but I have to agree with Meranda. This not-naturally-a-photographer journalist has been in two bureaus over three years, all the while equipped with a camera. Point and shoot, naturally. And I would have been proud to call my own if they were my personal cameras by they way.

    But they weren’t, and I wasn’t. Each time I whipped those cameras out, I felt embarassed, namely because I felt like an amateur. Especially when the amatuers had better cameras than me. More than once, I got “would you like me to email you some photos” after pulling out my camera.

    But, like Cyndy, my issue comes down to the quality of the photo. I’ve taken some great photos with a point and shoot. But, as my old basketball coach always said, a blind squirrel will find a nut every now and then.

    Point and shoots are great for mugs, great for grab and grins, great for photos where the object isn’t going to move and crash scenes.

    But any fast movement events: awful. The shutter time is too slow. I was at an Easter Egg hunt, where children grab eggs like ravenous beasts eating prey.
    I sit by an egg waiting for a kid to come, see kid, click on button, kid off and gone iwth egg. My photo: half of the kids behind and a blank area of grass where there was once potentially a great photo. Then there was the community garage sale. By the time my point and shoot flashed, the two women I was trying to capture as they made a transaction, had turned and were giving me their brightest fake smile. My newsy shot was immediately a posed, grab and grin.

    Fine, you say “mindset.” But this squirrel knows she would have had plenty more nuts if she had a more professional camera.

  242. cyndy green Says:

    Hey Suzanne…
    You’re referring to P&S for still use – and I meant for video. My biggest gripe with P&S for video is the short zoom – virtually no zoom at all. But I’ve been able to think my way around it by getting in closer. Other gripe is audio quality – getting closer is, once again, the solution.
    Love your squirrel reference – I’m into the dinosaur motiff right now. Survival mode and looking out for those pesky mammals after my job.

  243. Mike Braun Says:

    It isn’t the size of the cat in the fight it is the size of the fight in the cat. Type of equipment is not relevant. If you can take good photos/vid with a P&S or cheap digital, so be it. I keep a cheap, old digital in my car, just for emergency type breaking, spot news events. And I’m a designer, not a reporter. I don’t really care what my equipment is, but I’ve been in this business for 30+ years, starting as a general assignment reporter and lugging around an old Russian 35mm (Zenit) that was all I could afford in those days ($135 per week to start) and I used it well. Whatever equipment you get your hands on, just learn it inside out and you’ll do well. Better is better, but you gotta go with what you have.

  244. Patrick Beeson Says:


  245. Kate Says:

    Where do you find your quotes?

  246. Charlie VIck Says:

    That is truly scary. Jeez, AJC? What got into you? They are trying all kinds of new stuff, some of it very good, and some of it apparently along the lines of ‘scary campfire tales with Creepy Computer Voice.’

  247. Meranda Says:

    I am kind of obsessed with quotes. I have an entire shelf of my bookcase dedicated to books of quotes and painted quotes grace the walls of my apartment in three different rooms. I also have a scrapbook in which I collect quotes I come across that I want to save, and I frequently troll quotes Web sites in search of inspiration.

    So my quotes come from all over. This one in particular, came from a random google search for “quotes journalism” (no really, I Google random things like this frequently). I’m feeling lucky gives you this page. Reading through those, I came across this one, which I thought worth sharing.

    Long explanation to a short question. ;)

  248. Charles Says:

    Yeah, I often think that the definition of “reporter” is “someone who runs towards whatever everyone else is running away from”. Though carrying a notebook (or camera) rather than a firehose or medical equipment, obviously.

  249. Why Journalism students need to be selfish » SeanBlanda.com Says:

    […] There as been a lot of buzz around the media-journo-blogosphere lately about the demands placed on young journalists. As someone who is graduating (hopefully) in May, allow me to give an idea of my “strategy” for the upcoming job search: be selfish. […]

  250. Young journalists are important to their papers | ShutterScape Says:

    […] I just got finished reading a great post by Miranda Watling on her blog Miranda Writes. Miranda is young journalist in a newsroom much like any in the country. Her paper has taken note of multimedia story telling in a big way. But what’s important to note is her satisfaction that she is part of the process of ideas, and finds happiness by simply being asked to participate the staff meetings usually only attended by senior staff. […]

  251. Kate Says:

    Back in my more morose days, my theme song was, hands down, “Things Look Brighter” by Brandtson. Now that I am one happy son of a B, I’m not sure what song best suits me… but I’m sure it exists & I will now waste time seeking it out. Thanks a lot.

  252. Jaclyn Says:

    I remember taking one of those “What’s your theme song?” quizzes online one year, and “Walkin’ on Sunshine” was mine, which depressed me to no end b/c I find that song terrible. Another Web site predicted the song of your life based on your 18th bday, which would have made mine “Butterflys,” as in the “Come, my lady, come, come my lady, you’re my butterfly, sugar baby.” A fun song, yes, but nothing I want as The Song of My Life. If I come up with a good one, I’ll let you know :)

  253. melissa Says:

    I’ve heard that song, because you either sent it to me, or told me to DL it. I also have that IM me song on my ipod because of you. ( :P )

  254. Dave Lee Says:

    Thanks for this… what a brilliant quote!

  255. Steve Bushong Says:

    Hey. I wanted to let you know that I read your blog a lot. I often find something interesting or useful, so please keep writing. =)

    Good luck!

  256. Amber Says:

    I came across this post on a late night google search for ‘teen domain’ and it gave me chills… This was me. Circa when you circa’d, pumping out html like english in notepad, manipulating layouts in photoshop, way2kewl.com’in my way around the newest domains trying to find a host once my currents died. It wasn’t a hobby, it was a lifestyle…

  257. Dana Says:

    Not sure, but glancing at my playlist, my quick answer would be “Don’t Dream it’s over,” by Crowded House or “Under Pressure”

  258. grace Says:

    I remember reading about this when I was in Pittsburgh—so horribly sad.

  259. Sean Blanda Says:


    As a former intern for The News Journal (delawareonline) I perked up when I read this post, but I was unable to find any of the stories in question. Is it only stories from the archives?


  260. Sean Blanda Says:

    nevermind, found some.

  261. Charles Says:

    Don’t sweat it. As long as you’re sure that she’s telling the truth, it’s valid.

    After all, people often get quoted when they’re telling bare-faced lies – people in court, people who have been caught out doing things who deny all wrongdoing.

    Presumably the difference here is that it’s something like an assault or similar. (You haven’t linked, how can we know?) As long as it’s not an anonymous allegation against someone named, and you’re sure about it, you have to see it as part of the process of getting closer to the truth. Which is what it’s about, yes?

    The water gets far murkier when you have people who have agendas who don’t want to be named. Think of how Valerie Plame’s name came out. That’s when it strays too far.

  262. Howard Owens Says:

    Every reporter should be as concerned and conscientious about using an anonymous source. They were, journalism would be better and democracy would be better served.

    Don’t ever let using an anonymous source become old hat. Question, question, question yourself every time the idea comes up.

  263. Charlie Says:

    I take it you took a little time off? Hope you didn’t wind up feeling too guilty. You may have deadlines, your work may be short a reporter (and who’s responsibility is that? you?), but they can’t expect you to screw up your health getting the job done. It’s a short-term gain for a long-term problem. I had to take some time off my newspaper job today too, what with some damn infection I have. Missed a city council meeting, but that couldn’t be helped. I tend to be a pretty good lil’ workaholic myself, but you can’t do that all the time. Hope you hunkered down and caught up on your reading.

    Feel better – and don’t feel guilty. You work hard, you earn an honest sick day or three.


  264. Meranda Says:

    Charlie — I actually did stay home today. When I woke up at 7 a.m. just as exhausted as if I’d not slept the previous 10 hours and just as achy, I pretty much knew today would absolutely suck if I went in.

    I did feel guilty, especially when I checked my e-mail mid-afternoon and another reporter gmail chatted me about how she still had three stories left. But the fact that I spent almost the entire day dead asleep in bed tells me it was needed.

    My editor was nice about it. He was probably pissed because it left him with like two reporters all morning, but he didn’t seem too upset when I called. He said the same thing, to take care of myself and get some rest. I guess he probably realizes, like I did, that prolonging feeling like crap by not dealing with it doesn’t benefit anyone.

    Hope you feel better too!

  265. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » QOTD: Change. We don’t like it, we fear it, but we can’t stop it from coming. Says:

    […] (Yes, I did just quote a TV character. But come on, it’s a great show, and this is sound advice. Besides, I’ve quoted a muppet before.) […]

  266. Charlie Says:

    Yeah, my boss was cool as well. My symptoms could be construed as staph, (staphish?) and given all the press MRSA has gotten, my editor thought it prudent I skipped the city council meeting. Feeling a lot better today, thankfully. What I had is some red spots on my legs. Yesterday, they only hurt if I was wearing pants, which meant I was pretty screwed at work. It’s conditions like these that tell you to go home.

    Hope that’s not too much information for you. Hope you’re feeling better, too.

    This makes me want to start my own blog. I’m a cub reporter myself, but the newspaper here pretty much believes the internet will go away in a few short years. So I’ve turned to all the blogs and learning programs I can find to shore this up. This is good stuff. I clambered on when you had a post about how ‘Senior staff doesn’t listen to new people? But they listen to me.’ and have been reading a good bit ever since. Good stuff.

    Also liked the piece about people asking you when you’d grow out of journalism. Our bloody ad ladies are like that, asking me if I secretly want to become a doctor. You would think once you get inside the industry, people would be supportive, right? Right.

  267. Meranda Says:

    Last week, just as I was starting to fill sick, I happened to be reporting a story on MRSA. Any time you report about something, you instantly get paranoid, “What if I have it?”

    I too felt better today, much much better. But it was annoying when everyone else commented, “You sound/look better.” Like, did I look like crap before? :/ But I think they meant well. All in all, the world did not end because I missed a day of work. The story got pushed back to later this week, and I’ll be fine.

  268. Adam G Says:

    – Mad rush to get applications in to colleges with a Jan. 1 deadline

    – Any problems at schools in the area that may be addressed with post-Winter Break restructuring of discipline code, student handbook?

    – I don’t know if Indiana does state report cards for schools like Ohio does, and/or when they’re released. Could do an accountability follow-up on schools that have needed improvement in the past six months. Where are they now?

    – Does Indiana do teacher of the year? Maybe a feature. Talk to past teachers of the year to compile of list of where they are now and what to look for in the next batch of candidates.

    Hope at least one of these helped!

  269. Kiyoshi Martinez Says:

    I’d highly recommend checking out state funding on a district by district comparison. This data should be available to you by the state board of education (I know in Illinois they have it all online).

    Depending on how the state education funding formula works, you could look look at how economic factors and student population plays a role that works for/against (probably against) the districts.

    For instance, in Illinois (notoriously bad for education funding), the formula takes into account how many students you have in your district. For districts that didn’t see a rise in population over the past few years, they received little to no increase in funding, and that was generally below the rate of inflation.

    Inflation gets to be a huge issue with things like transportation, energy, fuel, salaries, benefits, supplies, etc.

    A good thing to take a look at and graph would be how the ratio between funding from the district to funding from the state has changed. In a majority of cases in IL, that ratio showed a shifted burden on funding from the district.

    I also know in many cases, the state passed laws requiring the district to do additional things, but it ended up being unfunded. For instance: requiring environmentally friendly cleaning products.

    In a related story, another huge problem I found was with special education funding. In Illinois, they passed a law stating how much reimbursement the district would receive per teacher for special education. Then they never bothered to adjust that rate for inflation… ever. Imagine not getting a raise from one of your employers for 20 years. That’s pretty much what Illinois did for special education funding, which districts are mandated by law to provide.

    Sorry for the long essay, but hopefully this gives you some great ideas for your beat.

  270. Meranda Says:

    Thanks for the ideas guys! I sent in a list of some enterprise to work on this afternoon, and some long-range enterprise for the beginning of next year. Plus, I have a few ideas I’m timing out to report ahead on and then just write those weeks.

    Also, found out today, those two weeks of schools pages? Full steam ahead. =P I have a hard enough time filing them when school’s actually in session. But I guess I’ll manage.

  271. Andrew Dolph Says:

    I came accross this posting a few days ago, and thought I’d give an update. We’ve launched the new website — all be it some time ago. Here’s the new link:



    — Andrew

    Staff Photographer, Medina Gazette

  272. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Another thought on the evaluation Says:

    […] Now that I finally looked through this evaluation form I noticed something interesting. One of the about two dozen sections of my upcoming evaluation includes “Consistently breaks news online.” […]

  273. Tyree Says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who has fond, fuzzy memories of the ‘teen domain scene’. It seems really surreal now, to look back on it… I suppose LJ and Blogger and MySpace were sort of the death of DIY interweb fun. But man… it was good while it lasted. I suppose I’m off to see if anyone is still around, or if it’s all really dead…

  274. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » What were your top news stories? Here’s mine. Says:

    […] ISTEP/NCLB/PL221 fall-out: Seems every month or so someone was failing at something according to these numbers/results. I’m working on a few bigger stories that look at some of what the numbers mean — achievement gaps, how poverty/transiency/race affect them, etc. The implications of these numbers, what they say about the schools and the community and what they may mean for both’s future, is interesting and telling about how well students are being reached. Again, something to keep an eye on. […]

  275. Josette Says:

    I’ll post a personal Top 5 (since I moved to Virginia a little over halfway through 2007 and am out of the loop … had I not, the West Lafayette election season would have made this list):

    1) Wade Steffey disappearance
    2) France Córdova named Purdue’s 11th president
    3) Virginia Tech shootings/aftermath
    4) Tippecanoe County government drama (Steele, property taxes, etc)
    5) Crime in Lafayette on the rise

  276. painternc Says:

    Very funny – found you through the search words friendship bracelets – who knows…
    This may be it! I’ve been up to my eyeballs in friendship bracelets over the holidays – so the reference to them was great!
    Happy Holidats

  277. Mindy McAdams Says:

    You’re a credit to the profession, Meranda. Everything you’ve written in this post could be debated and argued over, but in the end, the course you have chosen is the wisest one.

  278. Teaching Online Journalism » What a hiring editor looks for (or, what’s your URL?) Says:

    […] Meranda Watling has been the education reporter at the Journal & Courier, in Lafayette, Indiana, for three months (almost four). It’s her first job out of college. She wrote: I learned this relatively early in my job search from an editor who was impressed with my resume, mostly by my demonstrated new-media experience. But she raised one extremely valid point about my package. In her words, “Why is this carbon-based?” Good question. Why was I, of all people, applying on paper?! […]

  279. Paul Guinnessy Says:

    I think it also depends how much interaction you’ll have with the candidates. For example, if you were a sports writer not writing on politics, then becoming involved with a campaign might be ok assuming you cleared it with your boss. Working in a small news department where you stand a chance reporting on a campaign, is a different kettle of fish. If you think there’s a conflict of interest, there’s nothign wrong with discussing the issue with your boss on how he handles it.

    During the 2004 campaign I gave some money to some candidates as I couldn’t vote at the time (green card holder still waiting for my application for citizenship to be processed), plus I stayed away from reporting on the candidates. This time around I won’t be giving any money as the web site I’m in charge of is running a sub site devoted to the science policies of the various presidential candidates. That leads to a conflict of interest if I publicly support a candidate. Of course, with today’s paper reminding us that instead of Iowans being consumed with politics and making a serious choice over which candidate we might be lumbered with as the media has been portraying for the last few months, it turns out only 180,000 of the 1.7 million people in the state who are registered to vote will actually bother to attend a caucus. It does make you wonder over the fairness of it all.

  280. Lindsay Says:

    As with those who found this randomly via google before me, I’m looking in a mirror. I still have the domain I registered when I was 14, though I’m thinking about turning it into a portfolio for freelancing, because that’s what we washed up teen designers do, right? I’m facebook friends with a few of my former hostees, one of whom ended up going to school for graphic design and gives me the credit for his addiction. I’m so glad I was a part of the movement; I think without us the Web would not have evolved the same way.

  281. Megan Taylor Says:

    Hey Meranda! I use Twitter as a “lifestream” – meaning everything gets fed to it. Blog posts, delicious links, google shared items, flickr photos, and probably more that I’m forgetting. I don’t have a solution for your byline feed problem, cause I post all my clips to my blog, so it gets fed in with everything else. I’ve looked at ReporTwitters, and I agree with the concept, but I feel like they are asking you to only Twitter about stuff related to journalism work. Meh. Congrats on joining the fun!

  282. cameron reilly Says:

    check put twittories.com, short stories written by twitter

  283. grace Says:

    I thought you’d dig this story from Slate: http://www.slate.com/id/2181183

    especially the quote from bob woodward at the end!

  284. Paul Bradshaw Says:

    Some really useful links – thanks. I’m about to try one new use for Twitter – I’ll be asking my team of student journalists to twitter their newsgathering process, and I’ll aggregate their feeds to a ‘what our journalists are doing’ column on the website. It should act as a heads-up for readers on upcoming stories and issues (and attract leads?), as well as emphasising just what an active and dynamic, exciting news site we are ;)

  285. shawn smith Says:

    This is something we’ve long thought about as well but have yet to pull off. I think some of the TV stations in our area have a hotline that the schools call and they all share that one hotline. Do the stations in your area have those? We haven’t yet approached anyone on this, but it’s a big project that would be incredibly important to readers. good luck!

  286. Meranda Says:

    Shawn — We only have one TV station based here. The rest of the stations are out of Indy, but some of those carry our local cancellations as well. We also have several radio stations. (Though, personally, the idea of waiting to hear it on the radio sounds crazy. Who would do that?!)

    We have an e-mail address set up that we’re using exclusively for breaking news from schools/police agencies. And we’re working on setting up a form online for other cancellations. I know a lot of stations have code words, etc., which is something I brought up with my editor. But we’re trying to keep it simple and will simply dial back to confirm. I don’t know about those TV stations sharing a single list — if they do it’s likely pilfered, not shared. But I could be wrong and have never worked in broadcast.

    Our biggest challenge, other than getting people to call us, is that we don’t always have the same person on those shifts. So we needed something centralized so that no matter who happens to come in that morning, the information gets there. We also need to train our staffers to take the calls, not just say “OH, it’s schools! Well, Meranda’s not around.” Or leave me messages that I don’t see for two hours when we should have gotten that news up immediately.

    As I said, it’s a process. We’ll see as we head into winter/school closing season how successful my hours of tracking people down has been and will be. And I’m sure we’ll find some hiccups and work them out as well.

  287. Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media » Saturday squibs Says:

    […] Midday media traffic spike? Meranda wonders what newspapers can do to capture some of those noon-time browsers. […]

  288. abs Says:

    yay the j&c! now if the ksu coup can just swamp…the nytimes. for starters.


  289. Teaching Online Journalism » When news breaks, go to the Web Says:

    […] You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your ownsite. […]

  290. Josette Says:

    It was pretty awesome to see this story go viral. I smiled when I saw it on the Obscure Store and Reading Room; back in the day, when I had free time, I would send Romenesko URLs of oddball J&C stories to put up on the blog. Good times.

  291. Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media » Monday squibs Says:

    […] Reprinting yesterday’s news? That’s odd. Technical issue prevented some of the day’s news getting into the IndyStar so they filled the space by reprinting news from the day before. Good grief. […]

  292. Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media » Tuesday squibs Says:

    […] Don’t dismiss good journalists who don’t ‘get’ online just yet. Meranda makes some solid, interesting points But I can’t help wondering if a journalist who hasn’t ‘gotten’ the net, considering it was more than a decade ago that newspapers started going online, isn’t suffering from case of willful blindness. […]

  293. Ryan Sholin Says:

    It’s always such a funny feeling when a reporter (a young one, even) asks me if I read so-and-so’s column in a local Major Metro.

    I sort of tilt my head a little to one side and try not to say out loud “I have 300 RSS feeds in my reader. I read all sorts of writers on all sorts of topics, but no, I give no value to the fact that so-and-so has a column in a local Major Metro, so please don’t look at me like I’m supposed to know who you’re talking about.”

    Instead, I just say “Nope. What’s the column about?”

    And nod and smile. Which is probably what they’re doing when I tell them what Dave Winer or Jeff Jarvis or Jay Rosen wrote about something we were talking about.

  294. bob stepno Says:

    Nah… You won’t hear much about those guys in all the journalism history or media history courses.

    They’re part of Internet history… well covered in “Revenge of the Nerds” PBS documentaries and books about communication technology. If you were covering a technology beat, you might want to find out about them… If you were doing research on the usability or origins of hypertext and the Web, you’d recognize their names.. If not, thanks to the practical research skills you picked up in J-school, you’d know all you need to know in a hurry.

    It’s great to know the traditions, culture and legendary figures of the news biz… or of printing (check out Mergenthaler’s Wikipedia page… pretty slim for a guy responsible for so much information overload!)… or of cyberspace.

    As for “being a journalist,” if your J-school courses concentrated on good writing and research skills, you’re heading in the right direction… asking questions… doing plenty of that nodding and smiling Ryan mentioned, raising a skeptical eyebrow now and then… and taking notes.

    PS May I borrow the phrase “paving the past” sometime? :-)

  295. Matt King Says:

    Hi Meranda,

    I think it’s right to tell your editor, but I’m also a believer of working it out among the “kids,” and getting an explanation before making an accusation.

    It certainly appears as though you were plagiarized, but it doesn’t seem right to run the reporter up the flag pole this way without more facts.

    If he did do it, he should be canned. Or, if he’s so green as to deserve a little pity, made to understand just how cracked the ice is beneath him.

  296. Meranda Says:

    Hey Matt — I wasn’t trying to “run the reporter up the flag pole,” I’m just trying to figure out what to do. I made a conscious decision not to write his name or the city here so it wouldn’t say pop up in any searches for him down the line. But it is on the screen grab so you can see the similarity and that it’s obviously under someone else’s byline.

    I’ll talk to my editor again today and see what he says. Part of me thinks, let it go. But that’s how things like this perpetuate. Plus, then the guy will never realize his error if he is “green.” But even if he is, I’m inclined to think he should know better. I first learned about plagiarism writing reports in like 4th grade.

  297. Mindy McAdams Says:

    It looks like a case of pure and simple plagiarism to me. If a student did this in my class, I would fail the student — for the whole course. If I were a newspaper editor and this were my reporter, I would fire him. And I would make a big public case out of it so everyone in the newsroom understood what had happened and why I have zero tolerance for plagiarism.

    If you can’t do your own damn reporting and write your own text, then you do not deserve a job in journalism. There are plenty of people looking for work who know how to do the right thing. Give one of them this guy’s job.

  298. Mindy McAdams Says:

    P.S. I would also (if I were the editor) phone the journalism department chair at this reporter’s j-school and ream the chair out. That way maybe the j-school would do a better job of teaching their students the difference between right and wrong.

  299. Adrian Holovaty Says:

    I can’t think of a single journalist today who tops Royko. He is absolutely the best.

    Instead of memorizing names, here’s something genuinely productive you could do: Read the Royko anthology called “One More Time.” It’ll take you about a day, and you’ll enjoy every minute of it. Then read “Boss,” his book about the first Mayor Daley. Then read the second “greatest hits” anthology (I think it’s called “For the Love of Mike”) and work your way into the back catalog by reading his various anthologies from the ’60s to the ’90s.

    I have a modest collection of Royko books and try to reread them at least once a year. It’s not because I want “historical context” or any other academic BS. It’s because they’re entertaining and inspiring.

  300. matt king Says:

    His name is (deleted) it’s there on the screen capture.

    And Mindy, I agree he looks guilty, but aren’t we supposed to be in the practice of not assuming thing?

    READER NOTE: I deleted the name from the text of this reply. It is indeed in the screen grab, if you’re curious, but Google won’t index the name off a screen grab. That was the distinction I was trying to make. I’m not protecting his identity, but I’m not trying to ruin his future professional life with my blog entry either. — Meranda

  301. grace Says:

    I don’t think it’s horrible to not know those specific seven people. I mean, how many hundreds of stellar journalists and editors are out there? Part of what I love about journalism is that we can become experts in the areas that we love. When I think of writers that I respect and look up to, I can name Sasha Frere-Jones, Meghan Daum, Chris Anderson, Kurt Andersen, Susan Orlean… But do I expect everyone to know exactly who they are? No way. Where’s the fun in everyone knowing the exact same stuff?

  302. Mich Says:

    What’s interesting for me is that I only recognize those who’ve commented on the post: Ryan from his tweets; Bob from AEJMC; and Adrian from Chicagocrime.org. Mindy, I picked up from everyone else’s blogroll and also, AEJMC.

  303. Cory Armstrong Says:

    I suspect your newspaper has a policy about this kind of thing–I don’t know of any that don’t. Put it in their hands. Tell your editor and let the powers that be handle this. I remember when I was a young reporter just out of the box and it’s tough to play whistleblower.

    But, if there is a written policy at your paper–follow it. That’s why it’s there. That’s how I’d tell my students to handle it.

    I love Mindy’s tenacity, as plagiarism is a problem, but it’s not your *personal* problem.

  304. Jaclyn Says:

    Wow, I would have e-mailed that reporter right after my blood stopped boiling, and I would have cc’ed my editor and his/her editor, if you could find out who it is. It would have gone something like this: “Dear Blahblabh — This is Meranda Watling, who is reporting on the floods in Indiana. It has come to my attention that it appears as though a recent story you’ve written has a lead identical to one I’ve written. I do not appreciate my work being used verbatim without crediting me. If you’d like to discuss this further, you can reach me at …” And such. That’s just crap, Meranda. Keep us Meranda Writes readers up to date with what happens, if anything. Good luck!

  305. Dana Says:

    *sigh* Well I’d say you did the right thing going to the editor. I might suggest a cross between what Jaclyn said and what you did. Write up something outlining all the facts as you know them. Track down the contact info for the reporter and his boss and then give everything to your editor. That way your boss is part of the initial contacting process, but doesn’t have to do the initial legwork.
    I actually had a (kind of) similar situation. We were running a story from a sister publication and I ran into a question while editing it. So I found the press release for the event online … and everything but a couple sentences was verbatim from the press release. The paragraphs were arranged in a slightly different order, but still said the same thing.
    Now a PR firm isn’t going to care if you copy their release — they usually are tickled pink to have people regurgitate their canned material. But the kicker was the guy had the audacity to give himself a byline. And his publication had already run it, byline and all. ack!
    Unfortunately my boss never really did anything about it because of office politics. grr. Not really sure what else I, or you, can do in a situation like that.

  306. Meranda Says:

    @Ryan — When I was in college, I made a concentrated effort to read the Akron Beacon Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, my own student newspaper and the local city paper every day — in print even! (And when I had time to stop for lunch, I’d pick up and read my free copies of NYTimes & USA Today.) But even then, with one exception (the woman whose beat/job I would love to take over at the Beacon someday) I knew the names but was never an avid reader of any columnists. I’m not sure city columnists hold the same influence they once did. (Though, I do admire Connie Schultz at the PD.)

    @Bob — Glad to know those are names I wouldn’t have come across. And I didn’t realize I’d coined the “paved the past” phrase. lol.

    @Adrian and @Grace — Thank you for the ideas. I’ll have to check into the names. And Adrian, my books are due back at the library this weekend. I’ll check and see if they have those books. (We’re not terribly far from Chicago, so you’d think they would.)

    @Mich — I know more currently working “big names” in journalism than most journalists toiling in today’s newsrooms are even aware of. Because I blog and read blogs widely, I am aware of the awesome things going on elsewhere and where my job and company fits into the big picture. So maybe I’m not well versed in the past, I feel I have a strong grasp on the present and an eye to the future.

  307. bob stepno Says:

    Speaking of columnists, Mindy pointed out a link to a Jimmy Breslin column that I hadn’t read in years. It even survives the most godawful web layout this side of MySpace:

    Royko was terrific, too… even if he wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of Bob Dylan or computers. I hate to have you postpone enjoying him for that trip to the library. He won his Pulitzer back in ’72, before they started putting examples of winners’ work online. But here’s a good teasing sampler from his publisher:
    The publisher also included Mike’s line about the Internet:
    “Trying to use the Internet is like driving a car down a narrow road in a snow storm, a car in which the windshield wipers and headlights don’t work. All of the signs along the highway are backwards and upside down and of no help at all. Finally when you see someone along the side of the road and stop for directions, they can only speak to you stuttering in Albanian.”
    But that was before Django

  308. Teaching Online Journalism » Do you know who this is? Says:

    […] You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your ownsite. […]

  309. Nick Says:

    Royko’s writing is fantastic and an early influencer in my early journalism career.

    Read the tribute he wrote about his wife. It’s incredibly moving and incredibly well written.

    Knowing his work isn’t a litmus test that makes me a good or bad journalist, but it sure makes me happier to have read his stuff and read about his life.

  310. Mindy McAdams Says:

    My colleague Cory Armstrong is correct — the right action for a young reporter to take in this case is to tell her editor, do whatever the editor advises or prescribes, and chalk it up to bad journalism practices at another newspaper.

    It’s true that you could e-mail everyone personally, but that’s probably not the best option.

  311. casey Says:

    My favorites — Anne Hull, Rick Bragg, JR Moehringer, Andrea Elliott

  312. Andy Says:

    I only wish Twitter still enabled tracking so it would be possible to track conversations containing your city or neighborhood, thereby making it easier to meet people. This was something that Dodgeball managed a bit better.

    I’d love to see geotagged or keyworded twitters on a map!

  313. Josette Says:

    Twitter’s keyword tracking comes through for me like a champ (though it’s phone/IM-only). A better option may be Terramind’s Twitter search engine, which includes RSS feeds for keywords.

  314. Ryan Sholin Says:

    I search for the town I live in every now and then, which led me to a local blogger, which led me to a local blog community that just started up. Which I’m interested in for personal and professional reasons. So it pays to follow locals.

  315. ben Says:

    Thanks for the mention!

  316. Meowlikeacat Says:

    I just read your profile.
    http://www.personalitypage.com/ENTP.html = you?

  317. Meranda Says:

    Actually, that pretty accurately sums up my personality: optimistic to a fault and always minutely aware of my surroundings and situation.


  318. matt king Says:

    whatever happened with this?

  319. Meranda Says:

    Ah sorry all (and thanks Matt for bringing it back to my attention). My days at work spiraled out of control on other stories on my beat, so I didn’t come back and update as I should have.

    I took the advice and asked my EE about what if any policy we have and presented her with the evidence and print outs. She said to keep an eye out and see if it’s an isolated incident made because the person didn’t know better (which happens I suppose — she gave an example of a co-worker in Kansas who honestly didn’t know better until she was told). She said she might e-mail the guy’s editor to note that one of her reporters noticed a story with an identical lead.

    I also asked one of our other editors who, a few days later, it dawned on me used to work as ME of the paper in question. Her immediate response? “It doesn’t surprise me.” And that, “He did it because he didn’t think he’d get caught.” Sigh.

    My direct editor meanwhile has taken it in stride and humor, as he does most things, and helped me to do so. He joked that my productivity recently has been low: He hasn’t seen any of my stories in the HJ. lol. Well, it was a little funny.

    Another reporter, when I spoke up, said he had noted a similar thing in a different paper in our region for one of his stories. He didn’t really do anything about it but chalked it up to bad journalism, which is kind of where I’m leaving this.

    So all this leads to a whole lot of nothing. No guns blazing. No apologies demanded — or received. That story remains posted as it originally appeared under another reporter’s byline. And I have moved on, as I indicated before, to doing my best at my job and letting my work speak for itself — I guess even if it’s through someone else’s mouthpiece.

    As a final note, I do think I would feel a lot differently and more outraged — though my outrage has diffused in the past week — if this had been an enterprise package or something I spent more than about half an hour reporting and writing. As it stands, kind of like when I see the TV or radio people reading near word-for-word a story I reported, I just chalk it up to a small market and thank God I work at a more professional paper than that.

    I’ll just keep in mind what my editor often tells us when TV has the same story we’re also writing or reporting, “You can do better than that.”

  320. Daniel Victor Says:

    I’m working on it, I swear.

  321. shawn smith Says:

    Great blog post Meranda. This issue came up at the Online Journalism Association conference. Many people weren’t sure if a reporter should have their own blog. Being that American journalism is largely based on the notion that all journalists are striving for objectivity in their reporting, i can understand some of the sentiment against journalists having personal blogs. But I’m even more in favor of transparency. I’ve been blogging since 2004 on various blogs, and glad I have been. There was a thread on WJ about you the need to “do it” to “understand it.” That’s very true. I’m with you, everyone should try their hand at creating their own personal website.

  322. John Robinson Says:

    Anecdotally, I think the smaller the newspaper the more willing the editor is to say, “Why the hell are you asking such a stupid question? Of course you can do it.” Seems to me the big papers are the ones still concerned about personal blogs. But that may be an old perception.

    “I wouldn’t want to work for an organization that didn’t see the value in having “wired” employees interested in extending their new media skills.”

    That’s your key comment. Why would you indeed?

    I am an editor of a medium newspaper. I don’t know how many of our folks have personal blogs and don’t really care. I ask them not to embarrass the newspaper and if they have problems with me or a supervisor, I would prefer they let us deal with that privately.

    But really, I wish more had blogs and am encouraging all my staff to expand their digital skills.

  323. Jessica Says:

    I love reading your blog.

  324. Carl Says:

    Me? I never nag.

  325. Joe Grimm Says:

    Some good advice here for people, Meranda, from one who knows what she’s talking about.

    You’re helping us all understand that a blog is not a specific type of writing but a tool for many kinds of publishing — some without any writing at all!

    Keep it up!

  326. John Robinson Says:

    We have elected officials who blog and, of course, what they write is fair game. It often takes the tone of press releases, but often what they write is a good source of information. We had one city council member who delved into controversial stuff and had back-and-forth conversations on her blog with readers about contentious issues. (She was defeated in the November election, less for her blog, I think, but maybe more for her transparency.)

  327. Ryan Sholin Says:

    It’s definitely fair game, but…

    …I’d always try to call the blogger to confirm, let them elaborate, ask a couple more questions, etc.

    Then again, if you have a blog for your beat, nothing would be more appropriate than to quote from the blog.

    (Of course, I say this as someone whose blog has been quoted without much context more than once. Why didn’t the reporter at least bother to shoot me an e-mail to ask me to elaborate? They would have a better quote in the end if they did.)

  328. Howard Owens Says:

    I’m a little baffled — why wouldn’t it be “fair game”? (Whatever that means.)

    The term “fair game” implies some sense of gotcha journalism, like “should reporters troll elected officials blogs for stupid quotes.”

    However, if you accept the notion that journalism is a conversation, and a blog is just a conversational tool, then a reporter should be engaging in that conversation — and feel free to quote and comment on that elected officials blog, either in standard reporting stories or in his or her own blog.

    I fail to see why anyone in your newsroom would question whether what an elected official says in his blog should in any way be ignored or dismissed and not be eligible for vigilent coverage.

  329. Mindy McAdams Says:

    I think maybe the hesitation stems from the “netiquette” expected in private discussion forums. Back in the pre-Web days, The WeLL was a very, very active community that you had to pay to join, and only members could see the discussions. Some of the discussions were even double-walled — you had to be vetted before you could even be in the forum (most discussions were open to anyone who was a member).

    The WeLL had a policy of “You own your own words.” All Wellbeings knew that meant it was NOT fair game to copy someone’s words from inside The WeLL and post them outside. Of course, some people did just that. And sometimes a brash journalist would pay to join, run around all the forums, copy lots of stuff and quote it without asking permission — and REALLY make everyone else boiling mad! (This also had the effect of making journalists in general seem like jerks.)

    A lot of online discussions today are wide open — rather different from The WeLL.

    Most blogs are wide open, so I do not think the same considerations apply to anyone who blogs.

    And as John Robinson said, a public official is always on the record unless s/he explicitly says otherwise — in advance.

    In addition to checking that the person really did write the blog, I would also clearly identify the quoted matter as having come from the blog.

  330. markuplanguageblue Says:

    Good show! It’s funny. My boss sat me down yesterday to tell me if I kept posting on my blog regarding the media and using twitter, I’d be fired. Twittering at work, after all, shows you’re not working.

    Good times. Glad to hear it’s not the same all over.

  331. Ed Says:

    Wow! There are a lot of angry people out there. Print is losing readers for a lot of reasons, I think we can agree on that. But with all the complaining nobody in these posts is offering any solutions.

    My question is this: If someone had either raised or won the PowerBall and had $200 million to start a daily newspaper from scratch in 2008 what would it look like; what would it be like; how would it be managed? What kind of journalists would you hire? How would you make it profitable?

  332. Kiyoshi Martinez Says:

    Meranda: thanks for the plug and also doing some really cool analysis on the site. I’d been thinking of doing a tag cloud of all the responses to see what the most popular terms were, but just haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. You might have been one of the first few to compare it to PostSecret, but I can’t honestly be sure. I will say that PostSecret, along with the Guestbooks that plagued the Internet in the dot-com era and Overheard in the Office all played a part in influencing my idea for the site.

    Ed: The question is, if you had $200 million from the lottery, would you want to dump it into a newspaper? Or would you rather take your chances and put the money toward tech startups? Personally, I’d rather invest for the future of media rather than put money into a dying format.

  333. Ed Says:


    That was exactly my point. What is the future of media?

  334. Nick Says:

    I wouldn’t stop there when criticizing Ohio.com.

  335. Katie Says:

    Great quote!

  336. matt king Says:

    just posted my happiness over the IRE CAR conference.

    The reasons to be angry are too many to count, but I dont get the value of the constant moaning that goes on, mostly because the moaners dont seem to have any ideas about improving things.

    My attitude is to work hard and make myself the best reporter I can, and if I still can’t make a decent living in a few years I’ll do something else.

  337. Joe Murphy Says:

    Thanks for the link, Meranda — just for a heads-up, your link to your original AngryJournalists post is broken…. also, if you want MildlyEnthusiasticJournalist.com, I suggest you register it before somebody else gets it.

  338. Meranda Says:

    @matt — Kind of like your philosophy… I’ll move on when I quit having fun. I don’t get paid enough to hate my job.

    @joe I just checked all those links and they seem to be working fine from here? Which link were you referring to? — Also, re:mildlyenthusiasticjournalist, it’s a bit long. We need some cool Web 2.0 name for it to really catch on. I’ll get on that. ;) Thanks again for creating this.

  339. Jim Smith Says:

    Dear Meranda:

    As a recently “bought-out” reporter with 30 years experience I would say that much of what is being listed as anger is really frustration.
    Frustration with:
    Editors who are clueless to confront the emerging new media.
    Editors and managers who believe gutting a newsroom of its most experienced writing talent is the way to success.
    Editors and managers who believe American Idol and movie premiers rank about investigative reporting that uncovers corruption and public official wrong doing.
    Features have their place, I’ve done thousands in my career, but there is nothing like a breaking news story – murder, fatal car and industrial accidents and a “good” tornado – to really garner readers and interest.
    When I started my first reporting job in 1977 I had a stormy, but respectful relationship with my editor. That continued through much of the 1990s when that older generation of editors began to retire.
    Now what we have are pretty boys in empty suits (I know there are girls too, but I’ve only had boy bosses) who are stumbling in the dark trying to figure out what the next best trend is.
    Trend newspapering is a joke. Get back to basics and tell people what happened in the accident or fire they drove by this morning. That’s why I buy a newspaper.
    Online efforts will have to be led by younger, brighter minds. Right now older newspapers assign incompetent reporters and editors to the “Internet desk” to find a place for them. That is precisely the wrong way to fix what is ailing newspapers.
    Anyway, I’m not angry. I had a wonderful fulfilling career and am now drawing a nice retirement check two years earlier than I planned.
    I’m not angry for me, I’m frustrated for the young people to come.
    I like your site and would like to link to it from my site: Freefromeditors.blogspot.com. With your permission, of course.


  340. Jim Says:

    This is not close. As long as you are sure this is the public official’s blog (and he/she confirm that) anything on there is fair game.
    I would suggest, in the outside chance the remark was controversial or inflammatory, that the reporter would make a copy of the original post.
    If the comment gets the politician in trouble, I would want the evidence of the original before they had a chance to delete or correct it.
    That is my biggest bone to pick with online new sites is that they often simply correct mistakes without acknowledging their existence.
    The standard for correcting mistakes should be the same online as it is for print.
    For what it’s worth.


  341. Mood swinging journalists — SOJo: Student of Online Journalism by Megan Taylor Says:

    […] Meranda Watling wrote about both sites, even going so far as to make a study of what makes journalists angry. […]

  342. Nick Says:

    We don’t wear enough fedoras and visors these days.

  343. Digidave Says:

    Isn’t this video a HUGE trip?

    I didn’t think of putting it side-by-side with the EPIC video. When I often have to talk about how journalism is changing – I start with the EPIC video. Perhaps to really hit the point home, I should start with a minute of this video.

    Crazy stuff.

  344. Mandy Jenkins Says:

    The reason IndyStar’s is so good is because they are one of the very few sites that corporate let do their own take on the design. They worked hand-in-hand with corporate todevelop what will be known as the GO4 1.1 template set for metros. Detroit also got that permission and cooperation.

    We would have loved to have been able to customize our site here in Cincinnati, but alas, we have very limited access to our own templates (which is quite a change from the past). We’ll be trying to find ways to do our own customization, but we’ll end up looking a lot more like the little guys.

  345. Meranda Says:


    I figured they got some type of special permission. Because the Web guys I talked to here when we were first starting toward our design said everyone was going to look practically identical. But it’s interesting to see how varied Indy and Freep are based on the same basic design. I think Indy took it a lot farther with great results.

    I don’t think I actually stated this in the entry, but it’s worth pointing out, I think the GO4 design is pretty good. It does a lot of things and will enable more participation at a deeper and more intrinsic level than most media Web sites today. This is a good thing.

    I just harp about IndyStar a lot. (Search for that name in my search bar and you’ll see.) So I thought while I was going to talk about the design we’re headed toward, I should give some kudos where it’s due as well.

  346. Mandy Jenkins Says:

    Yeah, Indy really went all the way in their redesign, lots of attention to detail, lots of customized style sheets and in-house javascript….no wonder they were way past their scheduled launch date. It helps to have as many programmers as they do (not to mention a larger-than-average online staff for a paper their size). All metros – hell, all papers – would do well to follow that example.

  347. Daniel Victor Says:

    Very cool. I almost did the same kind of thing when Hillary came to speak in Harrisburg last week, and I’ll probably end up doing it sometime before April 22. God knows Hillary’s hanging out in Pennsylvania long enough.

    As an aside — you get your AYP results the day before? So unfair. In PA last year they released the results online at 10 a.m., then had the education secretary’s press conference at 11 a.m., leaving us no time to comb over the results and come up with detailed questions. Now I’m even more frustrated to learn that other states are giving reporters the results earlier. Argh.

  348. Meranda Says:

    @Daniel — Our DOE is pretty good about giving us things the day before so we can analyze the data and prepare packages. Of course, it would have been MUCH more helpful if I’d, you know, actually had time to look at any of the information today. Also would be nice if they’d given them to us last week or next week, since all but one school district of the four public ones in this county are on spring break. Makes it a bit more challenging.

    Good luck in PA during the elections. I’m definitely jealous of all my Ohioan friends who still get to be courted by the presidential campaigns. Ah las, this is probably the closest we’ll come to mattering. So I was super excited to get to lead the online coverage today. Either way, I’ll take it.

  349. grace Says:

    Haha I know exactly what photographer you’re talking about. Here’s the first line of a cover letter I wrote myself. I was trying to be cheeky and stand out, but I never got an interview, so we can surmise it did not work:

    The job listing for the international editorial intern position had me at “hello” — or “Guten Tag” or “hola,” if you prefer.

  350. Sean Blanda Says:

    I’m sure I have misspelled something on a cover letter….

  351. How to get hired - not : Journalism.co.uk editors blog Says:

    […] Slightly off topic, but will bring a smile on a Friday… NotHired.com (thanks to Meranda for the tip). […]

  352. Trabalho procura-se…mas como? | Job wanted…but how? « O Lago | The Lake Says:

    […] LOL @ nothired.com , MerandaWrites […]

  353. Gavin Jackson (The Photographer) Says:

    To clarify the letter for in state newspapers, such as the Plain Dealer, began with “Greetings from Kent.” Only out of state newspapers were greeted by “Greetings from Ohio.”

    The cover letter has since changed.

  354. Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media » Tuesday squibs Says:

    […] Selling out in journalism, and why I don’t think I ever will. Folks like Meranda are the future of the craft. The present, too. […]

  355. Cool Links #2 (With some not-so-cool links) « TEACH J: For Teachers of Journalism And Media Says:

    […] Meranda Writes – about a journalism sell out.  I can’t tell if she pities him, hates him wants to be him or doesn’t know.  I too was a journalism sell out, I left for the better hours and better pay.  But at least I still teach journalism.  But in today’s market I still can’t blame j-students who become dissatisfied with the state of journalism today.  Many who have decent web or video skills can find better pay and working conditions at Web 2.0 startups or in PR.  Or if they are really crazy they can start their own online biz – Drudge Report, Grammar Girl, Huffington Post, need I say more? Posted in Design, Journalism, Newspaper/Magazine, Video, Web. […]

  356. Charles on… anything that comes along » Why some sell out and others don’t Says:

    […] Fascinating stuff over at Meranda Watling’s blog – she’s a local journalist in Ohio – watching a colleague who joined a year after her (and she’s only been there a couple of years max) go off to a super-well-paid job in government: […]

  357. Daniel Victor Says:

    Good question, and I like your answer a lot. I’m doing a career day Friday so I really need to think about this.

    Off the top of my head, I’d say:

    1) Because every day is different

    2) Because I love coming into the office in the morning and having absolutely no idea what my day will be like

    3) Because everyone you talk to is passionate about something, and being in the proximity of it gives you a little taste of their passions.

  358. TeachJ Says:

    I once got to sit in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle while they fired a live Tow-II guided missile downrange. I’ve talked to the quarterback of my local NFL team. I’ve interviewed the governor of Texas. I’ve eaten 12 different types of barbecue in one hour. I’ve walked into and out of a maximum security prison. I’ve video tapped the entire III-A state football championship game. I’ve been in a college football player’s house on NFL draft day when the Superbowl champions drafted him in the second round. I’ve talked to the family of a man who was rescued from and electric line by a passing stranger.

    What did you do today? Working in Journalism/Media is the hardest job you’ll ever love.

  359. Nick Says:

    Because I would shrivel into a tiny ball and die if I weren’t a journalist. (Read: passion) I honestly never, well, rarely, look at my workplace as “work” on a day-to-day basis.

  360. Meranda Says:

    @Daniel — I started thinking about this when I gave a presentation to a bunch of middle-schoolers about my “career” as a “newspaper reporter.” I especially like your #3. It’s something I’ve never thought of that way before, but an awesome take on the people we encounter.

    @TeachJ — I met the Governor of my state my first week on the job. I didn’t think anything of it until my mom called me the next day and was like, “DID YOU MEET THE GOVERNOR?!” She was all proud and telling her co-workers. And what did I do today? I worked on a story about a local art installation taking shape at an area school, oh and I live-blogged and wrote two stories for tomorrow’s paper about Chelsea Clinton speaking here. It’s an interesting job, for sure. And you hit on a key point… it’s a hard job, but for your hard work you get repaid in unforgettable moments.

    @Nick — I’m not sure I’d shrivel in a ball if I weren’t doing this. But I do know I’d miss it immensely, just the unpredictability of it all (which Daniel hit on) if I weren’t out pounding the pavement and finding interesting stories every day. While I realize it’s “work,” sometimes more than others, I also can’t think of any other thing I’d enjoy doing as much. Basically, I’m getting paid to meet interesting/passionate people, have amazing experiences and write compelling stories. I can definitely dig that.

  361. Kate Martin Says:

    Meranda, just saw your post and I completely agree with it. It’s frustrating for me to see reporters going through the motions and doing the bare minimum to get a paycheck when there are so many people out there who would die to have that job.

  362. MikeB Says:

    Face it, not everybody who goes into any line of work is cut out for it. People change jobs all the time. I’ve been in the biz 31 years. Pay isn’t great, working conditions could be better, but the job satisfaction is high. Why do I stay (yes, I can do other things)? I can’t imagine doing anything else. Worked for both family-owned paper and corporate. Both had good, bad, up down. I just love what I do, have done and will do (done it all, writing, copyediting, rewrite, designing, columnist, photo, enjoyed it all). Can’t ebven imagine doing flackery, pencil-pushing, or any other ‘sell-out” routine.

    They’ll have to carry me out on a “turtle” (For all you younger journalists, look it up. It is an old newspaper term)

  363. nope Says:

    Oh, greetings from Ohio.

    Those were the days.

  364. AaronSpencer.com » CMS and social media team up Says:

    […] I already knew about SAXOTECH’s content management system and Pluck’s social networking platform teaming up in the online news world. The partnership is a big part of Gannett’s GO4 design for its papers’ Web sites. But I missed this story last Friday. […]

  365. V. Says:

    I usually say pretty much the say thing you say. I often add that I’m only a journalist because I don’t think I’m creative enough to come up with fictional stories to write so I choose to write about what really happens. But yeah, that’s really it – we’re lucky enough to experience things others can only read about (even if sometimes they’re not the most pleasant experiences, they’re still experiences…). Also, there’s no room for routine in our days. :)

  366. Dana Says:

    Apparently the fact that I got my current publication’s name correct on my cover letter earned me big brownie points when I applied for my job. Apparently Rubber & Plastics News was too hard for some (several spelled out “and” or made “Plastics” singular).

  367. Ryan Says:

    The Wire is one of the best TV shows ever. Hands down.

  368. Charles Says:

    Because I like making mischief by asking questions that might expose new facts. I was like that at school.

  369. Jared Silfies Says:

    I’d go with “It’s harder than it seems.” That sums up my attitudes toward non-journalists constantly prodding me for what I do.

    Here’s a few others:

    I want to know everything, now.

    I’d rather be blogging right now.

    Journalism is a discussion about everything.

    I meet people you read about.

    Wow that is harder than it seems.

  370. Kate Martin Says:

    Hey Meranda,

    I voted for “Please stop griping, now start typing” because some of the others were too pessimistic. I try to be a glass-is-half-full person, but with the layoffs in my area (Seattle Times and P-I), it’s hard to be optimistic.

    @ Jared, I liked your “I meet people you read about.” I think if you’d submitted that it might have made honorable mention at the very least.

    My suggestions for the entry were more tongue-in-cheek, like “Dark time sucks, shallow coverage ahead.”

  371. Meranda Says:

    I like both your submissions. Seriously, Jared, you should have submitted those. My favorite is “I want to know everything, now.”

    But I agree with Kate that I’d probably vote for “I meet people you read about.” That was the reason I cited in my recent post about “Why Journalism?”

    Kate, you’re also right that many of the Poynter submissions were pessimistic. That’s why I liked the one I voted for: Who, what, when, where, why, Web — All the important elements of a journalistic piece of work these days.

  372. Brian Boyer Says:


    “Who, what, where, when, why, web” is the tagline of my new blog, Sixth W! It predates the poll by a week – so I came first, I guess.

    Anyway, thanks for voting for the good one. :) I’ll be blogging this soon to try and get more votes.


  373. Electric Fishwrap » Blog Archive » Washington papers to share stories, too Says:

    […] Following Ohio’s model, Washington state newspapers are going to share stories in the nebulous future. Right now, we have to call other newspapers to get copies of their stories if it doesn’t run on the AP wire. For instance, I was able to use material from the Kitsap Sun last week for a story on a local superintendent who is looking for work there (see result). […]

  374. Kate Martin Says:

    I saw that Poynter column. Tons of papers don’t have blogging policies. One SPJ training I went to this past winter, the speaker asked which papers did not have a blogging policy. I think every hand went up unless they were with the PI or the Times. That said, my hand went up too.

    I tried asking about a blogging policy early in my stay here, and it seems to be “don’t ask, don’t tell,” just like my last paper. It’s not like blogging is a dirty word or act, but that is how they were treating it. It’s slightly disappointing but I understand some organizations are slow to change when they are used to doing everything the same way.

  375. Brad King Says:


    As someone who’s worked 14 years (and counting) in and around the profession, there’s another more frightening reason for the young brain drain: lack of innovation.

    I’ve worked as a journalist in Ohio, SF and Boston — and in every place, I felt the frustration — and sometimes managed the frustration — as we tried to implement modern technologies that would allow reporters to tell better stories and engage with the readership, only to have management shut them down.

    The fact is the day of the story being the primary driver of information is over. We now need to provide tools and data — and many reporters reject that notion because they still believe a one-to-many source is the best way to reach people.

    Stories are important, but if you truly care about the profession and the community, you want to provide them tools to engage and interact.

    When that does happen, the best and brightest find their way to professions that allow them to do that.

  376. Steve B. Says:

    Hey there. I read this, too. I actually plan on starting a personal-ish blog while in Peoria this summer. I want to pair it up with my WordPress, which is the more an exhibition of my professional work — you saw it, I think. Anyway … I want to create a main Web site, such as stevenbushong.com, and with some sweet flash interaction, give people a choice: WordPress or personal blog. I’m excited. I’ll send it to you when I’m done!

  377. Claire Says:

    Wow – little bit arrogant are we?

    There is nothing wrong with people having different goals, different interests, different desires as far as careers go. Just because someone decides working in daily reporting – where the pay is low, the hours long – does not necessarily constitute “selling out.” Working in news works well for you, which is a good thing – the world needs dedicated reporters. But save us the sanctimony – your pursuit is not more meaningful than that of the former reporter who goes into PR. The world needs all kinds of people – including those who are tolerant of others and don’t judge others for making the choice that is best for them.

  378. Meranda Says:

    @Claire — I wasn’t trying to be arrogant. As I hope you read in my post, I completely agree with my former co-worker’s desire to leave. He hated his job. He SHOULD leave, for both his sake — he can and now will get paid more to hate his job elsewhere — and the community’s — this isn’t a job you can do well if your heart isn’t in finding and telling the stories of your community.

    I was merely commenting on my reasons for staying, and “why I don’t think I ever will” sell out. (And you can split hairs on my use of the phrase sell out, but it’s hard to argue with it to mean leaving this entire profession to go work for higher wages filling out paperwork for the government. If you have a better term for it, I’ll hear it.) It’s not that I feel morally better or superior or any of those things. If anything, I’m jealous. Jealous that he doesn’t have the need to do this, that he can take an easier or at least more profitable road and not feel like a sell out or feel like he’s missing his calling. I’m not judging him, I’m reflecting on the things that keep me doing this when other options exist.

  379. Kate Martin Says:

    Great story idea list. School districts in my area are budgeting fuel costs for $5 a gallon diesel for 2008-2009 school year.

    Aside from my beat, I’m tasked with writing a feature on tips to increase MPG. I recently bought a 2004 Prius (my 1995 Ford Taurus’ transmission died). There are good Web sites out there for mpg fanatics (hyper milers) or hybrid users: cleanmpg.com, priuschat.com to name a couple.

  380. Charles Says:

    For some people, driving to work won’t be economic at [INSERT PRICE HERE]. Who are those people, and what is that price?

    Good list though. Then again, you think you have it hard? In the UK, we’re at $2.60 per *litre*. Plug in a spreadsheet and see how you’d like *those* numbers.

  381. Bryan Murley Says:

    $.28/mile is extremely low. I think that’s what it was when I was reporting in 1991. The current IRS rate is almost twice that. I wonder if you can deduct the difference on your tax forms? Either way, your editors should increase their mileage reimbursement.

  382. Josh Says:

    I saw your posts on the other site regarding journalism pay scales. You brought up a very interesting point about salaries and job occupations.
    When you’re in high school, be sure to research what you want to do VERY CAREFULLY. With the economy being what it is, the salary consideration really is a tough call versus the good idealism journalism provides.
    Most of us–probably you too–are salaried, not hourly, so a 40-hr calculation isn’t valid (it’s more like 55 hrs/wk, like what you do). So the per/hour calculation of a $13/hr reporter, for instance, at 40 hrs/week, is more like $8 to 9/hr at 50-52hrs/week.
    Plus, what you forgot to factor in is gross versus net income. Net income is roughly 72 percent of gross (after-tax income).
    A $25k j-job is about $17-18k in real-time dollars.
    I have a teacher friend. Her writing skills are borderline East Cleveland. I’m not joking. But because she chose to get a health teacher job in a white, upper-middle class middle school in Baltimore (suburb) she’s making about double what I make. And it’s not a big deal, except when she writes me and I can’t understand half of her sentences. Then I get pissed–being awesome at writing makes me proud because it’s a skill I’m glad I have and that I worked hard at, but the fact is that particular skill set isn’t valued highly enough in the real world. Hence the low journalism pay versus teaching.

    Maybe down the road you could become a journalism teacher at a high school.

    But like the first poster said you have to start somewhere. In spring 2006, when I graduate KSU, I got 6 job offers. The local hometown weekly was the best at $25k. Plus it had a 401k and a $2k a year HSA–good health insurance plan–so that’s why I’m staying for now. The tough part about moving to another job is that you have a comfort level with the 3 people you work with and don’t want to leave. My job is fun, but there’s no growth potential.

    Take care and God bless in your journalism career.

  383. Kate Martin Says:

    Wow two decades is a really long time for a superintendent. You were lucky to have someone like that show you the ropes.

    And yes, “Meranda has the ability to ask the exact question you do not want to answer” is a huge compliment. It shows you’re listening and paying attention.

  384. David Says:

    Help! i think i have an absess… Its Tourture! i wish i had no Teeth, i would gladly live on soup for the rest of my LIFE!

  385. Daniel Victor Says:

    I could share in your excitement yesterday. “Our” girl (Jahnavi Iyer) made it to the top 10, and I had covered her at the local spelling bee here so I was definitely rooting for her.

    I thought about making a bet with you via Twitter on who would go further, but I didn’t because I couldn’t figure out what we could possibly use as our stakes. Good thing I didn’t.

  386. Barb HIpsman Says:

    Just a twitter cruisin tonight and saw your story on education…ah – does this mean occasionally, just every now and then one of us oldsters cracks through the student brain and makes sense? Glad to hear it toward the end of intersession when I’m fried. You continue to grow, grow, grow. Keep askin’, askin’, askin’………bj

  387. Will Sullivan Says:

    I think this is pageview whoring with data. Haven’t you heard, it’s the new model in newspaper journalism!

    1- Put everyone in the world’s name in a database and they’re bound to look up themselves and their friends.
    2- Each pageview makes a little tiny bit of money for the paper.
    3- Profit.

  388. Kate Martin Says:

    I totally feel for you. I had a school board member come up to me today and say “Thanks for making me sound smarter.”

    At first I was horrified because I thought it was one of those rare instances when you misquote people and it makes them sound better. But no, he actually said all of those things, but maybe it sounded different in his head?

  389. Jaclyn Says:

    Ha! Aw, honey, you laugh and say “Yes, sir!” and then you treat it as you would any other quote. It cracks me up when people say that. Of course they’re worried about sounding stupid. I usually assure the source that everything he or she has said makes perfect sense and, again, offer to read them back their quotes if they like. It’s funny — people only take me up on that occasionally.

  390. Meranda Says:

    I just came across your website and have never ever seen anyone else who spells Meranda the way that we do! It just made my day!!

  391. Teach_J Says:

    Can we call them Web News Sites? Or maybe just WebNews, or iNews, maybe eNews. Who knows.

  392. Patrick Beeson Says:

    Thanks for picking this up and running with it Meranda!

    Funny how kev097 (Kevin Koehler), a student at Wake Forest and editor/”Web guy” of the Old Gold and Black newspaper appears to harbor an antiqued line of thinking. I sent him direct message explaining the obvious, which you detailed here.

    I think part of the problem is branding. Do we want to have our Web sites associated with what many say is a dying medium? Or are we better served taking a different path ala Google News, Newsvine, etc.

    I don’t agree with your corporate overlord’s definition — an information center feels like a building I would go to — though I do think that news Web sites are more than news.

    I think that once we get away from repurposing what we do in print for online, an original product will start to take shape that might redefine what we call it.


    Seriously though. No names with “i” or “e” as a preface. And put down that “@”!

  393. Brian Cubbison Says:

    Google “print newspaper” …

    It’s a retronym, like day baseball, broadcast television, natural grass or acoustic guitar.

  394. Steve Says:

    “Journalist by trade” vs “leverage this utility”

    Seriously, does not compute. Just because you’re using the web, you don’t have to write like you’re a marketing exec giving a speech for Crappr.com at a pointless tech conference.

  395. Meranda Says:

    @Steve, you would probably get along with my sister. She likes to joke that I’m a “quasi-Republican linguist.” Her phrase means absolutely nothing except to flag me when I’m using too many “smart” words or talking over her head. Sorry, it happens sometimes.

    I spend all day translating ABCs and jargon as an education reporter — otherwise known as LEPs, IEPs, ELL, ESL, HIPPA, FERPA, ISTEP, NCLB and so many more I can’t begin to spout off. I get it, and I translate it. And when people talk over my head, just like my big sister does to me, I call them out on it and ask them to speak English. It’s what I do.

    I don’t think my use of that phrase is wrong, but I can see why you don’t like it. And you’re right, I probably wouldn’t use it in a story. (But what I write about wouldn’t lend itself to that anyway.) In my defense, it IS a sentence I would use in speech among other journalists. Since I do view this blog as a conversation with other journalists, especially those beyond my newsroom, I don’t consider that use inappropriate. But thanks for reading and caring enough to point it out — though leaving a real identity (not stevey@xyz.com) would help me take it more to heart.

  396. Kyle Hansen Says:

    Great post.

    San Jose State University just got a new president (I was the online editor for the paper there at the time) so I can relate to your frustrations. The only public meeting to get input from the community was during winter break, so no students were around to participate and the paper was not being published. Then they waited to announce their decision on the day before finals started, after the paper had finished publishing for the semester and when students were too busy to pay attention anyway. (Some of us on the paper gave up our study time to do a special issue.) Luckily, they did announce the three finalists a few weeks before the semester ended, so we at least were able to do some research on them and talk to them when they visited the campus.

    I agree that public institutions need to be more open, especially when they are spending students’ fees and tax money.

  397. Meranda Says:

    @Kyle — I forgot to mention in this post, as I was focusing on K-12 public schools, but I feel your new university president pain. In fact, that might be why I feel so strongly about this topic.

    I was managing editor/”editor-elect” of my college paper when they named a new president — in the middle of exam week! With less than 24 hours notice a “finalist” would be introduced! (Only one finalist, btw.)

    The then editor and I were actually at breakfast with our ethics prof when we got the news a new president would be named. (It had been announced ONLY in a faculty e-mail that a finalist would be introduced.) We had finished production for the semester and our next issue wasn’t out for nearly a month. But damned if we’d be scooped on that!

    So, with about a dozen staffers still left on campus, we all pretty much abandoned our exams and got to work on cracking who he/she would be. Once we were confident enough with our name, we broke it online and then we put a photog and reporter on a plane to Louisiana (from Ohio) to find out who the heck the guy was. We put out an extra edition the day he was announced and a second extra the day following with more perspective and reaction. Every other paper in the region was quoting our paper on the name.

    Seriously, it was amazing journalism. In fact, I’m excited just thinking about how much fun it was. But still… not cool. I lost my 4.0 that semester. But, it was worth it. ;)

  398. Kate Martin Says:

    Meranda, I could not agree with you more. Thank you for posting this. The superintendent search infuriated me beyond explanation. I’m still mad about it. Let me explain.

    Washington State has more than 300 exemptions for executive session. They go from reasonable to ridiculous. The board also does not have to record, in any fashion, any part of the executive session. They do not have to give notice that they are going into executive session, so if it’s outside of a school board meeting, I’ll never know.

    The board in that Wired Journalists post ended up selecting a superintendent in less than a month. It turned out to be the woman I thought it would be, she was assistant superintendent after all. But they said at the meeting that there were “two very qualified candidates” that they interviewed for the post. WTF? I thought if they interviewed anyone it would be public?

    This goes back to the post I made that education reporters need more training (you made one also IIRC).

    Once we found out the finalists, I think my editors were prepared to send me, within a reasonable distance, to the community the candidate belonged to. But it’s hard to do that when we have no idea who they are.

  399. Ginny Atchison Says:

    I am not a journalist; just a parent and you have renewed my faith in the process. I am in Collier County Florida.

    After firing a 34 year veteran of our District, the School Board hired a new Superintendent without any search and without any current resume on file. The story of this school district is quite amazing. I’ve tried to chronicle it at colliercountyblog.blogspot.com with backup documentation at my personal site.

    I am also curious by nature and upon checking the credentials of our new Superintendent became quite concerned. He had never taught in a public classroom. In 4 short years he went from a middle school guidance counselor to Superintendent. He even had numerous negative articles about him in NY Times and other National publications.

    For the past year we have been embroiled in lawsuits, controversy, protests and facing the possible loss of our district accreditation due to the School Boards actions.

    The more I dug into the events the more I came to realize this is a National issue. Some recruitment firms are actively marketing “non-traditional” Superintendent candidates. I have since been writing to State officials asking them to support legislation mandating minimum continuing education requirements for School Board members as well as minimum requirements for Superintendents.

    I almost started crying to see a journalist who actually cared and is willing to go the extra mile to serve the public. Thank you.

  400. Dave O'Brien Says:

    I sometimes prefer the kindler, gentler “A message seeking comment was left for …”

    I definitely feel your pain, though. We’ve all had receivers slammed down in our ears, been screamed at or otherwise denied comments on the first try … and then you get that one return call right before deadline that gives you everything you need.

    Still, any reporter with even a half-decent command of the English language who wanted to outright suggest that their source was avoiding them could easily do so. And that’s ethically dubious, at least in my opinion.

  401. Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media » Friday squibs Says:

    […] Day in the Life of Greater Lafayette, with a twist. Ooh, this cool: put the overdone “day in a life” on a timeline. […]

  402. Ellyn Angelotti Says:

    Great blog!

    The Lawrence Journal-World also did a similar feature last year about this time. You can see on the site how they played this content in print and on their television newscast too.


  403. Teaching Online Journalism » Reporting beats re-examined Says:

    […] A reporter doesn’t usually go into a beat with any special background. You learn on the job. As your experience builds, you get better at it (no surprise there), and stories take less time to write. Your knowledge exceeds that of the average man on the street. You’ll also catch some flak if you miss a story on your beat — you’re supposed to have your ear to the ground on all matters related to your beat, not wait for others in the newsroom to tip you off. (Links from the blog of Meranda Watling, an education reporter in Lafayette, Indiana.) […]

  404. Tom Cheredar Says:

    Never knew where this came from until this morning. (Something everyone should think about before writing a new blog.)

  405. mccxxiii Says:

    This looks really neat and fresh, but I have a larger question: Why should I care? How are pictures of what random people are doing today useful to me? I barely even care what my *own* kids do at day camp, let alone someone else’s kids. BO-ring.

    Also, you spelled “overdo” wrong. “Overdo” is to do too much of something, “overdue” is when you’re late returning a library book.

    BUT … all that said, I do like the timeline-of-photos idea (if they were photos of something interesting) and I applaud the web-first thinking.

  406. Meranda Says:

    @Tom I’ve never heard the quote before today. But it’s now among my favorites. (And, as you may have noticed, I have a thing for quotes.)

    I like the challenge it poses; kind of like “get busy living or get busy dying.” Make your life — and your work — count for something.

  407. Kate Martin Says:

    I used to live in the town where I reported. Sometimes it’s incredibly awkward. Like this one time I was going to the store to get cleaning supplies. I had paint in my hair and dirt under my nails. Who did I see? Oh only the local millionaire who was trying to build an amphitheater in the valley. I saw her first and ducked my head, but she saw me anyway, in my sweatpansed and sweaty glory.

    I was the political reporter at my former paper. My husband and I went in to vote at the church near our house and who should I see but one of my sources. It was really strange, because as a political reporter you do your best to be as objective as possible. The last thing I wanted was for someone to call me a liberal journalist or a conservative hack. As I approached her, she smiled and I introduced her to my husband. She then said probably the biggest compliment to him: “Kate is a really fair reporter. We don’t know what she thinks about the issues, and that’s how it should be.”

    Fortunately now, I work about an hour away from where I live. But distance has not prevented me from seeing people I know. I saw a senior I interviewed at the farmer’s market on Thursday. Then when my husband and I were celebrating our 10th anniversary one of my vice principals saw me (I can say that right? “My” vice principal?) but I didn’t see him. Later he mentioned it and said I looked really nice.

  408. Meranda Says:

    @Kate — I say “my superintendents” or “my schools” to indicate those I cover. I don’t really know why I need to qualify it, since um, pretty much everything you can reach within an hour or two’s drive is part of “my” coverage area. But not being from here originally and having lived on both sides of the river since I moved here, I have no allegiances, real or perceived. I just cover the news.

    When I went to the retirement reception for one of my superintendents, he introduced me to his wife. She thanked me for being nice to him, and he corrected the “nice” by saying that I “was always fair in my reporting.” I’ll take that over nice any day.

  409. Echo Says:

    I completely understand where you are coming from! Everyone’s a celebrity in a small town, and that status is elevated for certain people.

    My county has 51,000+ residents; it’s hard to go ANYWHERE without seeing several someones I know and, like you, I have been with my paper for a little more than a year. I am one of two reporters at ours, but still. It’s nice on one hand, but on the other hand it’s not.

    We have a daily based in a neighboring county that also covers my county; the reporter who covers us for them recently moved to the county, but she is so elusive. For our area, it’s nice to have a reporter who lives here covering the area as this is a tight-knit community that doesn’t trust outsiders too well at first. lol.

    It’s both a blessing and a curse, but I enjoy it. On a Saturday night, I might see “my cops” or the DA at a local community concert, and I am acting like a child doing the chicken dance with my kids. But Monday-Friday, it’s business.

  410. Wenalway Says:

    Well, you clearly don’t need to worry about being the best of the best.

    You’re another clueless young journo who doesn’t grasp what’s happening.

    Please either get a clue or STFU. We don’t need any more idiotic youngsters running around claiming they’ll “save journalism.” You got in because of low standards. Grasp that fact and grasp it tightly.

  411. Joe Ruiz Says:

    It’s funny, I got to this post via a Jay Rosen tweet. Anyway, reading about your day makes me wish my newsroom was like yours rather than what I normally here in, “I do too much already.”

    Reporters like yourself are the exception to the rule, and I think many of us in your position wish it were the other way around. You mentioned your prof and “a traditional newspaper job,” but I would argue that even with your 18 months (congrats) as a beat reporter, it appears you’re still not doing the traditional as evidenced by your use of the Web in a role. I agree with you; we still need to have people who can report well, we just need them — along with editors and publishers — to understand that we need to embrace the Web as the proper tool it can be for reporting the story correct, first and often.

    Many are in newsrooms where the Web is still seen as secondary, a repository or even non-existent. Those are the newsrooms where we can’t lose good, Web-savvy reporters.

  412. Vera Says:

    Excellent post, Meranda. I agree with every single word.

  413. TeachJ Says:

    Wenalway – way to be civil. First, Meranda – I love your blog. I’ve read it non-stop since I stumbled across it. You are what I hope my best students become a dedicated, hard working journalist. Second, back to Wenalway – maybe your mother needed to teach you better manners – like if you can’t say anything nice, or at least constructive – don’t say anything at all. Third, I totally understand Jessica’s love/hate relationship with an editor she respects, but who had to deal with a crappy situation. Finally, it is the “youngsters” and maybe a few of us who aren’t so young who will save what is left of journalism for the future. If not them, than probably no one. Journalism is NOT dying. Newspapers printed on dead trees might be. Journalism supported by huge advertising dollars that could send reporters to far flung bureaus might be dead. But lean, mean news machines will make it.

  414. Meranda Says:

    @Joe Ruiz, thank you for the comment. I am fortunate to work where I do, and I know it. (And I have since recruited several of my former college newspaper co-workers to intern, work and apply for jobs here because I realize that not every paper is like this.) My editors push me even beyond me pushing myself to go Web first. I like that, and I need that to grow.

    As @Wenalway points out, I am not among the “best of the best.” I aspire to be, certainly, but I am not yet. Actually, it’d be pretty depressing to peak at 22. I look forward to a long career of learning and growing in this profession. I’m certainly not there yet.

    Also, I am not trying to “save journalism.” I can’t alone, and I don’t need to. There’s plenty of good journalism going on already; many people are just too busy bemoaning the death of newspapers to notice or highlight it. If all you read is Romenesko, you miss out on the success stories of mid-size papers like mine whose daily work doesn’t make headlines or need to make headlines to justify itself. So what if Mindy McAdams is right and print is a losing battle. It’s not about the medium, it’s about the message. And my message is that good journalism is always going to be needed. So whether I do it at a newspaper or on a blog or from my phone, the skills I’m learning now are transferable.

    I do take one exception to @Wenalway: I did not get into journalism “because of low standards.” I got in because I busted my ass in college to prove I deserved a chance. Just because you’re bitter not to be involved beyond trolling journalism blogs looking for a fight or a dream to crush, doesn’t mean you have a right to make off-base assumptions about those who are lucky enough to get to do what they love.

  415. Temple Stark Says:

    Smart journalists know the newspaper as paper will not reign, but smarter journalists know, as you described, that the abilities learned translate to many areas.

    News has been devalued in place of entertainment but it’s clear people want to know what’s going on around them.

    I consider myself a former journalist now, and started in 1996 when the Web really started revving up.

    I try and tell people that there’s a difference between national and local media. And that when they say there’s a lot of bad, inaccurate journalism they can’t forget the hundreds of thousands of stories that are fine and accurate and just basic, useful news – school board meetings and the like.

    Lastly, it’s too easy to just shit on journalism without knowing what the job entails. So many think it’s easy but a lot of it isn’t and there’s some pretty crazy hours.

    Thanks for writing this. In a online world with built-in bias toward newspapers, it’s refreshing to highlight a lot of the hard work and values that do go into journalism every single day.

    – Temple

  416. I’m not going to save journalism — Joe Ruiz Says:

    […] Admittedly, this post is in direct response to a comment left on Meranda Watling’s blog calling her a “clueless young journo.” We’re not the saviors, we’re part of them. Meranda Writes: I am 22 and about as tech-savvy as an employer could possibly hope for their employee to be. And you know what? I LOVE my newspaper job. But I don’t love it because I am wedded to the idea of a printed product or because I long to wear fedoras or be Woodward and Bernstein or any of that. I don’t. I really really don’t. I rarely read the printed newspaper (my editor hates this), and I’d much rather be putting together an interactive graphic than sitting through a school board meeting. […]

  417. Steve Says:

    Is Wenalway for real or was that a parody of the curmudgeon journalist? If the former, time to retire, buddy; talk about clueless. If the latter, ha-ha. … Great post, Meranda.

  418. Suzanne Says:

    Wenalway is a well-known troll. Please do not feed him.

  419. Kate Says:

    I disagree with Wenalway.
    Mostly because I think you’re one of the best.

  420. Kevin Anderson Says:

    @Wenalway I’m breaking a cardinal rule, which is not feeding the trolls, but I am curious to see if you would take the opportunity to expand on:

    “You’re another clueless young journo who doesn’t grasp what’s happening.”

    In your humble, or not so humble opinion, what IS happening, precisely, and what would you do about it? I’m genuinely curious.

    Unless you care to expound on that more than you have on Jessica’s post, Steve Yelvington’s posts and now Meranda’s post, then possibly you should be the one to, as you say, STFU.

    Great post Meranda. Here in London, several journalists like yourself are starting a HackDay for Hacks. We’re keen to start doing more and get beyond some of the more philosophical ‘future of journalism’ discussions.

  421. Working the web into your work flow | Howard Owens Says:

    […] It’s a nice virtuous thing that Meranda Worden is proud to work for a newspaper.  But that’s not the reason I’m linking to her post.  This is: That story that broke at 4:30? It came in via an e-mail tip. I actually “broke” the news about 4:40 p.m. I had quickly confirmed the gist of it and wrote two paragraphs to post immediately. Because the editors were in the daily budget meeting, I had another reporter read over it, and then I had a copy editor post it asap so I could begin chasing the sources who were leaving their offices at or before 5 p.m. After I reached those sources, I wrote into the online version and updated. When my editor got back he swapped it out and posted it in the No. 1 spot online. […]

  422. Kate Martin Says:

    @Wenlaway: Bitterness is not a plan.

    @Meranda: You must have had an exciting day!

  423. Innovation in College Media » Blog Archive » Today’s newspaper reporter Says:

    […] Image by Andrea Alessandretti via FlickrMeranda Watling explains how the news business is changing via an anecdote. Read it and learn from it, journalism students. That story that broke at 4:30? It came in via an e-mail tip. I actually “broke” the news about 4:40 p.m. I had quickly confirmed the gist of it and wrote two paragraphs to post immediately. Because the editors were in the daily budget meeting, I had another reporter read over it, and then I had a copy editor post it asap so I could begin chasing the sources who were leaving their offices at or before 5 p.m. After I reached those sources, I wrote into the online version and updated. When my editor got back he swapped it out and posted it in the No. 1 spot online. […]

  424. Wenalway Says:

    Good to see the immature young journos can’t handle the criticism, even though they’re good at dishing it out. I guess that comes from a life of feeling entitled and not learning to at least listen to other viewpoints. Today’s universities must really be sucking if they’re churning out the likes of y’all.

    First, to Meranda: Many people busted their ass when I was in college. Few of them were hired because at that time, journalism had standards and expected experience, right or wrong.

    Now the standards are lower for one reason: Papers don’t want to pay. Get this through your tiny heads: You are not smarter. You did not work any harder. Just keep repeating that to yourselves.

    Anyway, to answer the one sensible question that was posted: The debate at clueless Jessica’s blog is about far more than dinosaurs vs. whiz kids, despite what clueless young journos yearn to believe. It’s about laying off someone who relocated at the employer’s request, then was cut for that reason. It’s about idiots like Janet Coats stealing quotes and trying to sound smart when they’re really regurgitating the same failed attempts.

    What needs to be done: The pseudoeditors and failing managers and false prophets need to be fired. Today. Janet Coats: Gone. Mindy McAdams: Gone. Many others, young and old: Gone. Only then will newspapers improve.

    And grasp this fact tightly: You will not save journalism. You do not have the skills, and clearly based on these discussions, you have no interest in developing them.

    Now go back to Twittering and throwing out your new words like curmudgeon. Young journos: They’re so entertaining when they try to sound smart!

  425. TeachJ Says:

    Whine-away (sorry Wenalway) – put up or shut up. You offer nothing but criticism. Your post is nothing but hot air and vitriol. So either offer real constructive ideas or Troll your way to some place else.

    If you want to talk about standards – apply it to your own writing for example: “I guess that comes from a life of feeling entitled and not learning to at least listen to other viewpoints. ” What kind of English composition is that? You are obviously not a journalist. So, shove off.

  426. Wrongway Says:

    We will surely miss the the troll comments from Robert Knilands (Wenalway) when his proofreading job is outsourced to the Philippines. This unmuzzled, spur-galled scut has been banned from many Web sites for his spineless attacks on young journalists.

  427. Shannan Bowen Says:

    @Wenalway, Instead of calling Meranda, me and others “clueless” on our blogs, please clue us in. Why are we young journalists clueless?
    If YOU don’t think we’re saving journalism and that we “do not have the skills,” then please put up an argument and let us know WHY. HOW do YOU think we can save journalism if not by changing the industry, implementing new tools and reorganizing newsrooms?
    You offer nothing put words we won’t take to heart.
    And I say that on behalf of all young and old journalists reading your mindless comments.

  428. A word of advice Says:

    Just ignore the troll, folks. The more you respond, the more he’ll jack himself off in his computer room.

  429. Digidave Says:

    Agree with the advice from above: Rule #1 of the internet: never feed the troll.

    Although – I’m somewhat happy to see that journalism blogs/discussions now merit their own Troll. That’s awesome.

    Here’s why: Blogs are like parties. The journalism blogger conversation has been more like a cocktail party since I joined in 2004. Everyone pretty respectful, maybe keeping their best smiles on at all times.

    With the emergence of Jessica’s post and the trolls that have followed – the journalism blogosphere has become a bit more of a raging party. Having a troll is the equivalent of having a drunken a-hole show up at your party.

    But no worries: If we ignore him, he will pass out. Let’s just pray he doesn’t choke on his own vomit.

  430. Winston Smith Says:

    Wenalway: FOAD

  431. Meranda Says:

    Thanks for the posts and the links everyone.

    As for the discussion that took place here while I was at work today — you know, my newspaper reporter gig, the one where I’m not saving journalism or claiming to, I’m just, um, actually doing it? — I’m glad everyone has their feelings out in the open now. That’s where they belong. I hope there weren’t many bruised egos or enlarged heads as a result.

    Here’s the takeaway, guys: Debating who is a troll or who is a curmudgeon or who is or isn’t going to save journalism is not going to make more people pick up the newspaper or come to our Web sites to find the news people like myself are toiling away to produce. The topic at hand is that amid the “sky is falling” rhetoric in the journalism industry, there are places, including where I work, where good journalism is still getting done across multiple platforms and where the work we do still matters. Whether you’ve been jaded by layoffs or lower standards (and it has broken my heart to see these both in my own hometown paper), the only way things get better is if you get out there and make them better. Let us stop bitching and start doing.

    Wenalway is fishing for a response. So here it is. My definitive (and last) response to him:

    If you truly believe journalism is worth saving but that my peers and I and the other posters in this and similar blogs are ruining journalism, you only have one conscientious recourse. It is not to troll blogs looking for someone to insult. You have far more important things to do with your time. You need to get busy fixing what’s broken. Go on, put those walls back up to keep the standards from lowering for clueless kids and busy-body innovators. But, if you’re too lazy or too jaded or simply incapable of doing it, then you need to step the hell out of the way of those journalists you disagree with. Because the worst decision you can make is NO decision. I am young but not naive. I am also able and willing to go to work every day and fight the good fight from the inside, because I believe that journalism is too important to wait for the walls to come tumbling down. I am not just complaining about journalism or talking about the future of it. I am out there doing it every single day. What did you do today?

    I have taken a few measures to block Wenalway from responding again. They’re imperfect at best. So until Wenalway proves he is capable of engaging in a civil discourse, I will feel no remorse simply deleting his comments. There is enhancing the discussion and there’s stifling it. The latter isn’t an acceptable solution.

  432. Mark Dodge Medlin Says:

    Wenalway/Robert Knilands/Wordhawk has been spouting the same vitriol all over journalism-related Web sites for at least five years. People have tried to engage him in rational discussion, but he always falls back on name calling (“design dolts” is my favorite) and personal attacks. His only solution to any problem is the ax for everybody who doesn’t think the way he does. He is best ignored, but even then, I’m afraid he still won’t go away.

    Meranda, I’m obviously unfamiliar with the work you did in college, but if the day you described here illustrates your work ethic (and how could it not?), then clearly you did bust your butt to get into this business, and you’re continuing to do so today. Good post.

  433. simple truth Says:

    Wenalway isn’t about discussion, or improving journalism standards. Wenalway loves to comment on journalism sites content. Not because he wants to improve it, he simply wants to throw darts at the author, and cast doubt on their writing abilities. In the end it is easy to see that Wenalway is emotionally immature, apparently forever locked in at age 13.

  434. O Repórter Moderno | The Modern Reporter « O Lago | The Lake Says:

    […] post info By Alexandre Gamela Categories: Communicare e Corrente | Current Tags: estudantes, future, futuro, jornalismo, jornalista, journalism, Journalist, students Na sequência de algumas dicas para estudantes e jovens jornalistas, deixo-vos aqui este post do Innovation in College Media, que apanhou bem esta descrição de Meranda Watling (do famoso MerandaWrites.com) de com um jornalista deve trabalhar hoje em dia. […]

  435. Gain invaluable skills « Advancing the Story Says:

    […] Gain invaluable skills Posted on July 14, 2008 by Deborah Potter Times are tough in newsrooms all across the country.  Dragged down by a sagging economy, TV newsrooms and newspapers are laying off staff and cutting their coverage.  If you’re a young journalist, it may be hard to keep your fears about the future at bay.  Was it a mistake to get into this business?  Not at all, says reporter Meranda Watling, who covers education for the Journal & Courier in Lafayette, Indiana. Although it’s far more traditional a journalism job than I ever envisioned myself taking, I get to do most of the things I want to do. When I took this job I was upfront with everyone including myself that I wanted it to give me a solid base for whatever job I take next. I don’t expect or want to be a “newspaper reporter” forever. But I do believe no matter where I go, the skills I’m learning here are going to be invaluable. […]

  436. Paige Says:

    Again, I think most journalists (regardless of age) are more than willing to try anything that works. Many journalists have seen newspapers change more times that some of you can imagine, and have rolled with the punches. I don’t think old(er) means you can’t be tech-savvy. What I am concerned about is hearing the same speeches from editors and the like and seeing no proof that anything they’re doing is working. So many papers have laid off dedicated, talented journalists, cut the printed product ten-fold and put more emphasis on their Web sites. Great, those newspapers must be doing amazingly economically and have more on-line readers than they can handle. Except they’re not. No paper has a Web site that produces more revenue than the printed product. In the meantime, we give the readers less news that is less insightful, and wonder why our circulation is falling. OK, young tech-savvy people, save us from ourselves and preserve journalism with your Internet knowledge. And the let me know when the mayor or local community leaders or police officers are willing to communicate with you via Twitter. Otherwise, I guess I can just use this fascinating resource to see how the Jessicas of the world are spending their weekends.

  437. Meranda Says:

    @Paige, point taken. I don’t disagree it’s sad, disheartening even, to see newspapers lay people off and pretend quality won’t suffer. Of course it will. Saying it won’t is like saying the work of the employees leaving was inconsequential. Those editors’ speeches have become cliche, empty rallying cries of, “We will beat this. Who’s with me?” I get that. But what else do you propose they do?

    There is no right solution available today to ease the economic woes of the newspaper industry. But, as I said in an above comment, no decision is always the wrong decision. You have to do something. Even if it means that — hopefully short-term — something or someone suffers as a result of the decision.

    It isn’t about being young. Hell, it isn’t even about the Internet or the newspaper. It’s about the journalism. And making sure that people remain willing and able to try anything to ensure the journalism gets done, in whatever medium or form it happens to take. And maybe cutting your print product and devoting staff to online isn’t the right solution, but neither is doing nothing. All you can really hope is it saves a few jobs or at least saves the journalism that can get done. Is a newspaper down 1/4 of its staff better than no newspaper at all? Newspapers aren’t going to be what they once were. They aren’t now (see first paragraph) and won’t ever be again. But that doesn’t discount the work of those, like myself, who do go in every day and try our hardest to cover our communities and keep citizens informed.

    Also, I actually do follow and frequently talk to via twitter one of our city council members/local political leaders. I read another one’s blogs as well. Does it represent a substantial portion of my beat? Absolutely not. But I do use it beyond finding out what they or Jessica did this weekend.

  438. Paige Says:

    At some point, when newspapers were taken over by business people and became dependent on stock market profits, they also got away from doing what they use to do best. The truth is newspapers are trying to compete with the Internet and TV. They want to give people quick snippets of information, and then wonder why nobody’s buying. What newspapers used to do was allow TV to give you that little tidbit of what happened and the expanded on stories affecting their communities by telling people why it happened, and how it affected the reader. And they had a talented staff with enough time to break stories and/or to get the meat of the story. With technological advances, newspapers have continuously changed their model to compete in a market they really can’t compete in, and then sat around wondering why it isn’t working. I think we all (regardless of age) agree something has to be done, and the problem with Jessica’s blog was her assumption that her editor and newspaper were entering new territory. I don’t begrudge her enthusiasm, and I certainly don’t mind technological improvements, but I think giving the readers less is likely not going to equal success. Then again, I don’t get paid the big bucks to make these decisions, although I’ve spent years hearing the same thing these editors are saying now, and not seeing any positive results. If anything, it seems we are going backwards economically, creatively and journalistically, so it might be time to say this “new and improved” model isn’t working either.

  439. Mandy Jenkins Says:

    As a young-ish journalist in one of those non-traditional newspaper jobs, I agree wholeheartedly with Meranda. Throughout my four year career as an online editor at two metro newspapers, I have been met with quite a bit of scorn about my place in journalism with a capital “J”. I hear the whispers that I’ve only gotten ahead because of low standards in an industry that values web savvy over good reporting – and, like you, I know not to listen.

    Call it low standards or whatever helps the old guard sleep at night – but those who are flexible and willing to learn in this business are those that will survive. It doesn’t matter how old they are or what college they went to – the reporters who will still be employed by the news”papers” of the near future will be those who dared to evolve – like Jessica, like Meranda, like Jim Romenesko, Jeff Jarvis and tons more.

  440. Paige Says:

    Well, almost all newspapers have you tech-savvy newbies on board. What a relief. I guess I’ll breathe a sigh of relief knowing our journalistic future is now in your capable hands. I’m sure we’ll see you improving those profit margins and redefining the standards and quality of journalism to save the business from these old fogies who have been doing it longer than many of you have been alive. I do appreciate your optimism, but I think pretty much every person in the newspaper business that I know is capable of blogging, and other tech-related activities, but if you’re convinced this is the answer and can’t wait to see the business bounce back. Mandy, most journalists, old and young, are flexible and willing to learn new things, after all, we aren’t still doing paste-up are we? We just like to do things that work and that actually improve our business.

  441. Michelle Says:

    loved this.

    I’m a 23 year old journalist in LA and while I don’t work at the LA Times, when I moved here that was the goal. Now they’re laying off people left and right, and I’m kinda glad that I work at a national magazine instead.

    But there’s something that I love about typing frantically a minute up to the daily deadline and working all night on the lead story, whether it ends up on papyrus or an Amazon Kindle. I think that journalists should embrace technology and go with it, and that’s how optimistic reporters and editors like you and I will thrive.

  442. jamie Says:

    Great post. Working at a newspaper is most definitely not a death sentence for reporters with good, bright ideas. Unfortunately, the current business model is a death sentence for the newspaper itself.

  443. iphone games music Says:

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  444. Technolo-J : A curmudgeon journalist gets inspired: a short subject Says:

    […] MERANDA WATLING wrote a post on her blog which reminded me why the news business will survive. […]

  445. Mike Perrault Says:

    I’m still in school but working 40+ hours a week at a small local paper as a photographer, designer, photoeditor, webguy etc. Yeah, I’m idealistic and optimistic about this profession. God forbid. I don’t have anything else that really gets under my skin so I have to make this work. It’s the people who have turned their back on new technology and are only now deciding to use it that have allowed the demise. My generation of journalists is here to clean up messes and find a way to make this work. What else are we going to do(I mean, other than sit at home and whine via blogs). Without some new creative vision on what newspapers are going to do, of course we’re going to fail. Of course profits are going to be put before stories. We’ve known this for a long time and where have these so called flexible journalists been? We have no choice other than to make this work and frankly I think I will see it in my career.

    What do I care if my photos are printed on a page or simply run online? Our work is still getting out there and I actually want people to read my stories and take a look at my photos. If that means it’s not on print, fine. Newsprint destroys perfectly fine photos anyway at least on a monitor we can have sharp pictures.

  446. kentjmcprof Says:

    Meranda (and Mandy J). You both are succeeding and will continue to succeed because you know the basics of all good journalism: accuracy, clear writing, aggressive reporting, ethical behavior, creative storytelling. On deadline. AND, on top of that, you have multiplatform mindsets and multimedia skill sets. Not a bad combination for the present or future.

    Wenalway and his grouchy cohorts from the 1940s are inhaling your exhaust.


  447. melissa Says:

    When I lived in Binghamton, I didn’t realize how often I would see my kids, teachers, and parents outside of school, because it is like a long stretch of 88 away from my school, but I forgot that the main “business” area for that town was binghmaton, like closest grocery store, the closest hallmart, the closest drug store, so it happened often. Of course when I get home from work I want to pass out and put on something that is almost PJS and be a zombie, which is not a good way to present ones self, so I got in the habit of going straight out to whereever I needed to be after school, so I was still in that mode. Of course everytime I went to the grocery store to buy something silly I’d see people I knew, like the day I was buying all sugary cereals, I saw a fellow teacher saying she was buying the same for her 4 year old, and I had to say “yeah…this is for me…” haha or like the two times I actually bought wine coolers from the store I had kids find me.

    At my new school I will not only be actually living in the district, I am in the main town, on main street, so I better learn kids names really really fast, I will be seeing them often, and I have two schools worth of people to get to know.

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  449. KerriandAlina Says:

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  450. H.A. Page Says:

    I think that there are good and bad sides to all the arguments. The fact is that we are in the midst of a literacy change as technologically (or more so) revolutionary than Gutenberg’s invention of moveable type. This is always disruptive.

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  452. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » TNTJ: For young journalists, it’s all about attitude Says:

    […] It doesn’t feel good when an official who you know makes $124,000 claims that if you spread the number of hours he works out, you (reporter) probably make more than him. Clearly, newspaper reporters are overpaid and don’t work nearly as much as the rest of America. And you’ll roll your eyes through those contract negotiations where teachers with zero years experience, fresh out of college lament the $33,000 starting salary for a 184-day work year, with health insurance and a government pension, as being “underpaid.” You just have to hold your tongue. Yes it is disheartening. Woe is me. […]

  453. Greg Linch Says:

    From one optimist to another, very well said. I especially like how you cut it down to the very simple answer (attitude). I tried to do something similar in my post about uncertainty.

    We know the obvious problems that have been restated over and over, but I think we need to acknowledge and assess the more basic issues before we can tackle the other problems.

  454. Tomorrow’s News, Tomorrow’s Journalists » Blog Archive » For young journalists, it’s all about attitude Says:

    […] It doesn’t feel good when an official who you know makes $124,000 claims that if you spread the number of hours he works out, you (reporter) probably make more than him. Clearly, newspaper reporters are overpaid and don’t work nearly as much as the rest of America. And you’ll roll your eyes through those contract negotiations where teachers with zero years experience, fresh out of college lament the $33,000 starting salary for a 184-day work year, with health insurance and a government pension, as being “underpaid”. You just have to hold your tongue. Yes it is disheartening. Woe is me. […]

  455. Mood swinging journalists | SOJo: Student of Online Journalism Says:

    […] Meranda Watling wrote about both sites, even going so far as to make a study of what makes journalists angry. […]

  456. name Says:


  457. name Says:

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  458. Steve Mullis Says:

    Yes, they did have a special section, it was an extension of their politics section called ‘Politico’

    Not sure how you could get a PDF to analyze it more. Also, not sure about the Strib, but I’m sure they had something.

  459. Steve Mullis Says:

    Meant to put an image there, perhaps you block them. Here’s a link.


  460. Meranda Says:

    Thanks for clearing this up, Steve. I think I have photos turned off in comments to avoid spam, though it’s been awhile since I tweaked those settings so I don’t remember for sure. I updated the post to reflect this information.

    The Strib’s front page was mostly RNC coverage, so I assumed they didn’t have a separate section as well. But I don’t know.

  461. Erin Zureick Says:

    I totally get where you are coming from. I was EIC at The Daily Tar Heel at UNC last year, and while my job was rewarding (and I don’t regret for a second doing it), I really missed the journalism.

    Maybe 20 years from now I’d love to take another shot at it, but right now I just love telling stories and gathering facts.

  462. Woody Says:

    As a non-journalist, I find the basic spelling and grammar errors in the comments left on this page absolutely appalling. Or is it “appaulling”? Ahem, way to go, angry “journalists”.

  463. Vera Says:

    Ok so here goes…

    in my bag today (and in most days):

    – my phone (nothing fancy, just a normal phone);
    – notebook for taking notes + moleskine for other ideas (yep, like you);
    – digital voice recorder;
    – usb flash drive (i brought two with me today but i usually only carry one);
    -loads of pens (I really should get a case for them but right now they’re just all over my bag)
    – business cards (mine and other people – the day will come when I’ll make the mistake of giving out someone else’s business card instead of mine. I really should get organised on this too);
    – my diary
    – a book
    – an umbrella

    There’s other stuff I carry with me sometimes but these are the absolute basics. Like you, I only take the laptop with me when I know I’m going to need it (e.g. conferences where I’ll have time to write stories, etc).

    Cheers! :)

  464. Kiyoshi Martinez Says:

    A lot of what you mentioned carrying is what I carried around in my tote bag as well when I did reporting. Especially the hand sanitizer! Although, I opt for the Tide-to-Go pen rather than Shout Wipes.

    Some other things I carried:

    + USB cable. You never know when you need one. I found this works w/ a lot of digital cameras, recorders, portable harddrives and my BlackBerry (bonus for being able to use the BB as a tethered modem for the laptop w/ it).

    + Flash Drive. I find use for it from time to time, although you won’t need this if you have other USB storage devices.

    + Audio cable. This was useful for plugging into audio boxes at press conferences and feeding the audio directly into my recorder.

    + Spare batteries. This has saved me and a few friend reporters from on several occassions.

    + Spare change. Because there’s always a meter to feed.

  465. Cory Armstrong Says:

    Fascinating post–all good items.

    Although it’s been a couple of years for me, I always carried a rain jacket for tornado/storm coverage, as I found that taking notes while holding an umbrella didn’t always work that well;

    A spare set of shoes for traversing those rural fields in western Pennsylvania.

    And, for those that might need it, I had a hair tie with me at all times. :)

  466. Meranda Says:

    @Vera: Interesting our bags are so similar. :) Though, I don’t actually keep a diary or journal and if I’m lightening my load, my book is usually the first to go since I tend to read hard cover.

    @Kiyoshi: I have a Tide pen in my desk at work, where I also have two other types of hand sanitizer. ;) You’re also more thoughtful about cords, batteries and change. (We don’t have more than a handful of parking meters here, we just have a lot of one-hour parking.) I should keep batteries around, and I actually do keep my camera cable around.

    @Cory: I keep a hair tie on both wrists every day, so that’s a given. My hair is halfway down my back long, and you’re right in rain storms or windy days as are common here, sometimes it needs to be pulled back. Re: Umbrella, I feel silly in rain jackets, and have gotten pretty good at holding the umbrella and the notebook in one hand. That said, a huge downpour this may not be so practical. Extra shoes is a good idea, too.

  467. Kate Martin Says:

    Great post Meranda.

    My “backpack” size changes on what I think I’ll need for the day.

    Always take with:
    * Notebooks
    * Pens of various colors (running low actually)
    * m515 Palm Pilot
    * Olympus DS 40 recorder, headphones, wired lav mic and a USB cable for the recorder, extra batteries
    * Business cards
    * USB drives of various sizes (1gb to 8gb)
    * Cell phone

    Sometimes take with (Depending on the day)
    * Asus F3F laptop (I don’t always take this to work)
    * Canon HV30 video camera (getting used to using this, but just in case, don’t always take this to work either)

    At the office:
    * Sunblock, pain killer, relaxing tea, iRiver music device with calming music to write to so I can drown out office noise

    There’s also a tripod in the car. And by reading this I realize I’m almost out of hair ties.

  468. Ron Sylvester Says:

    I cover the courthouse, so to fit in with the lawyers, my pack is a brown fake snake-skin shoulder bag my wife (an attorney) bought me for Christmas. After all, why not travel in style? And it matches my shoes. :)


    A fold-out Bluetooth keyboard for my T-Mobile Dash, used for Twittering life events and filing stories.

    A Canon HV20 high-definition video camera with extra batteries.

    A video camera bracket (I bought from a big box electronics store for $12) that connects to the tripod mount and can be used add the shotgun mic (which sticks out over the lense if you mount it on top of the camera) or a wireless kit.

    Sometimes, there’s a wireless lavalier mic kit.

    An Edirol09 mp3 recorder.

    A homemade adapter I can use to connect the miniplug from the AV input on the HV 20 into professional XLR and BNC connector for professional TV cameras, so I can plug into the court pool video.

    An adapter to go from an XLR on the shotgun microphone to the miniplug on the Canon and/or the Edirol.

    Extra batteries in the front pockets, business cards, and a cheat sheet on the specs for compressing video for our web site.

    Video tapes

    Firewire cable for downloading video.


    Ponytail holders (not for me, but they’re great to keep cords from tangling).

    Outside in the pockets:

    A legal pad.

    Business cards


    An Azden shotgun microphone.

    (I also keep a tripod in the car, but I’m trying to figure out a way to carry that with me; photogs tell me to just get a suitcase strap and sling it over the other shoulder).

  469. Mark S. Luckie Says:

    Here’s what I keep in my bag:

    Plenty of pens and pencils
    One large and one small notebook
    digital recorder
    USB drives
    A bundle of cables
    At least one magazine (for downtime)
    A knife (for opening CDs and DVDs)

    I used to carry a utilitarian Dickies bag that more than enough pockets, but I traded it in for a sleeker Adidas flight bag, which fits in better with the Hollywood types. Also because I never know when I’ll be on camera, I keep a separate bag that has:

    Tooth paste
    Lint roller
    Business shoes (you never know)

  470. Kiyoshi Martinez Says:

    @Mark: Good point about the knife! I carry a Victorinox “SwissCard” with me all the time. It’s like a Swiss Army knife, but the size of a credit card with scissors, pen knife, toothpick, tweezers & a combo nailfile/flathead screwdriver.

    Important to note though: Remember to never bring any knife into a courthouse, no matter how innocently small it seems.

  471. Paul Guinnessy Says:

    Oddly enough I used to love my little voice recorder, but its gone the way of the dodo. My tools now include

    An iphone
    voice recorder software on the iphone (and I spent monday writing all my notes at a 8 hour meeting on it. It worked surprisingly well)
    twitterific on the iphone – useful to see who is twittering near your location on a story

    Nikon P5000 10 mega pixel digital camera – why this one?: good grip, full manual control, shoots quite good video and with a 4 Gb SD card, you can record 10-16 hours of voice if required (or 2 hours of video, cards are cheap as well).

    Notepad, three pens ( you can never have enough pens)

    Bag large enough to pick up reports that are available at the meetings I go to.

    This is half the stuff I was carrying even a year ago. I would have never of thought of using the digital camera for news if it wasn’t for a visit to CERN and the Large hadron collider last year. Shot some video as an experiment and the quality was decent enough to post to the web site.

    Optional: macBook Pro (one of the old ones so its a bit slow and temperamental)
    Canon HC-V20 digital camcorder
    Stool – you’ll be amazed how useful a portable stool can be sometimes.

  472. fiona Says:

    Same ere, I got an absess too, started antibiotics on Monday, only just starting to kick in, there is no pain like it, didn’t get any sleep on Sunday or Monday night, felt like screaming the housing down, very annoyed with my dentist as he told me 4 weeks ago that I had a absess, gave me antibiotics, but didn’t say to come back and have it removed a week later, would’ve done if I had known, then last week, my gum swelled up and here we are again, I am booked in now to have it taken out again for next week, I am a nervous patient, but can not go through this again, only one way forward, tooth is coming out.

  473. Andrew Says:

    Interesting views of the future of the industry from various suburban newspapers – http://www.suburban-news.org/media/videos/2008Fall/MemberVids.aspx. Better invest in the DeLorean now!

  474. Ron Sylvester Says:

    I’ll be trying to send good karma your way.

    On blogging, I’ve found it comes in waves. You miss a few weeks, then you return and pick up and post quite a bit. I’ve also found that Twitter taken the place of the blog sometimes, at least for me. And those who really follow you know what you’re up to every day.

    And mobile is becoming the way to go. Get a bluetooth foldable keyboard, so you won’t wear out your thumbs.

    And remember to eat (inside joke)

  475. TeachJ Says:

    Don’t think I could make it for a month. I didn’t have a computer for seven days after Hurricane Ike and I thought I was going to go crazy. Wow! Hope you don’t get hit by the cuts.

    I enjoy reading your blog and keep you in mind whenever a young student of mine says they want to work in the media field. The jobs are few, the conditions hard and the pay lousy – but do it if you love it.

  476. Jim Hopkins Says:

    Terrific post! How come I didn’t know about your blog before now?

  477. Kate Martin Says:

    Election Day, totally. It’s like the Super Bowl for journalism. I remember one time we were about to receive results when our internet connection died. Right then and there. All of our internet, gone. We had to call our spouses at home to get the results because we had nothing. Meanwhile editors were calling Qwest asking wtf is going on? Turns out it was a planned outage on Election Day that they had not informed us about! What timing… and what a rush!

  478. Finishing up « At the Alligator Says:

    […] Also, reading the post about editing student newspapers that Meranda Watling wrote in response to me starting this blog, I feel like I understand her feelings now in a way I didn’t at the beginning of this semester. In particular, this sentence stands out to me: I remember making mistakes that decades of other students had made before me, and I’ve since seen people make mistakes I made. […]

  479. links for 2008-12-02 – Innovation in College Media Says:

    […] I’ve been blogging two years… and counting Meranda Watling celebrates two years blogging. w00t! (tags: blogging) […]

  480. Sasha Says:

    Oh my goodness- I used to own snuggles.net! That is so wild. i just googled it today to see what had happened to it and came across this- it IS so crazy that we were doing so much of this stuff 10 years ago! I wish I could catch up with more of the people who used to be in that little circle.

  481. Six of the best... student portfolio sites | Journalism and Public Relations at the University of Sunderland Says:

    […] Meranda Writes (’I’ve been blogging two years now…’) “I’m a reporter at a newspaper, eh hem, information center. • As a young girl I would leave our table at restaurants and walk up to strangers to say hello. • I began teaching myself HTML at age 10. • I picked journalism as a major expecting to fail. • My dream jobs are producing content for the NYTimes.com and writing for WIRED magazine. • I love what I do.” Question for you: do you love what you do? (And if you walk up to strangers an say hello, stop it!) […]

  482. Marisa Says:

    I remember and miss those days. :(

  483. rebecca aguilar Says:


    Thanks for sharing. Let me just say we’ve all been there …or are there right now. It’s about storytelling….you’re right. People need us real reporters to get their stories out. I’ve been a reporter for 27 years and still feel the same way you do. We are the voice of the voiceless. I hope you don’t mind, I want to share your post with other veteran reporters who are questioning whether to go on in this unpredictable business. You put everything into perspective. Thanks!

    Rebecca Aguilar


  484. Alma Says:

    i had websites, too. i don’t even remember the names anymore!
    I had my domain and would host several people…

    i miss those days :)

  485. Kate Martin Says:

    Meranda, Great post.

    I wanted to suggest a great book for narrative story form called “Writing for Story” by Jon Franklin. On the few occasions when I actually had time for this type of writing, this book has been invaluable. “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser is also very helpful for writing nonfiction. Read anything Tom Hallman writes at http://www.oregonlive.com. That can give you some good ideas.

    Keep us updated on your progress. We are in the same place in our beats and I have similar goals for the coming year.

  486. Suzanne Says:

    Oh dear Lord, even *I* haven’t begun to nail each item of the list! :D

    Thanks so much for the wonderful perspectives. I’ve been following your stuff for a long time and am honored my posts inspired a post of yours.

  487. :: suzanne yada :: » Blog Archive » Resolutions for journalism students, part II: Network like mad Says:

    […] EDIT 1: Jay Rosen just sent me this link on personal branding, which I added to goal #1. EDIT 2: Stumbled upon Will Sullivan’s (@journerdism) fantastic series on job hunting and career advice. They are must-reads. 32 real world advice to journalism grads. How to network like a ninja. 94 journo job-seeking resources. Freelance and entrepreneur tips. Also, read his advice to college students here. EDIT 3: Meranda Watling (@meranduh) wrote a lovely post in response to mine, putting all of these tips into a professional perspective. […]

  488. Grace Says:

    So true.

    I also liked this advice:

    +++Alan Kellogg commented here with an important addendum: “Have the courage to acknowledge and correct your mistakes. You will make mistakes. When you err tell people you erred, where you erred, and fix your error. Your audience will think better of you.”+++

    This applies not only to your audience but ESPECIALLY to your supervisors.


    I concur. (see http://gracedobush.wordpress.com )

    +++Never underestimate the power of lunch.+++

    You’d be surprised how many journalists/editors are willing to meet with young upstarts for informational interviews.

  489. morg Says:

    hey what is the plug called? i accidentally broke mine with scissors (long story) and wanna buy a new one off ebay or something

  490. Theresa Says:

    I miss your Overheard at KSU blog…I used to watch for updates all the time until it kind of died. College kids are funny.

  491. OHnewsroom Says:

    Thanks for the link Meranda!

  492. Jen Says:

    Another random google searcher here, who was around in the teen domain days. I often wonder what happened to everyone. I’ve only sporadically kept in touch with one person.

    I laugh every time I open up Firefox, instead of IE. The term “Nutscrape” comes to mind. :)

  493. Kaci Says:

    We had a quote board at my college paper and there’s one in my editor’s office now.

  494. Kaci Says:

    I agree, this sounds like it would take a lot of time that could otherwise be used tracking down that last source to round out your story. Or… something. At my paper, reporters have to list on their daily time sheets the stories they worked on/finished that day, but that’s it. Just a list of story slugs. And really, I think that’s what’s important.

  495. Teaching Online Journalism » Advice for journalism students now Says:

    […] You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your ownsite. […]

  496. William M. Hartnett Says:

    I should have noted that was just the summary of a typical daily productivity report. Not included was the minute-by-minute report and all the usual documentation. Video evidence, notarized affidavits, etc.

  497. Cassandra Jowett Says:

    I attend one of those universities which is desperately trying to catch up to the technology curve.

    But when I enrolled in 2005, I was three years too early: the curriculum changed recently to allow journalists with an interest in traditionally separated fields (print, magazine, broadcast and online) to take a mixture of courses throughout their degree to get a more well-rounded education.

    I chose print and I love it, but I regret not being able to take a senior-level online or broadcasting course. I’ve had to develop those skills in my free time. It’s been challenging and rewarding, but very difficult and time-consuming.

    It’s refreshing to hear that recruiters who hire young journalists are still looking for those non-tangible skills we all got into journalism for in the first place.

  498. Niall Says:

    Very good blog. My university is just coming round to the idea of the way the media is changing but overall there is still a focus on ‘traditional’ news values. It’s refreshing to know that even in the new digital age editors are still looking for good honest journalists.

  499. Will Sommer Says:

    That first one was my favorite. It’s important to be working with people who realize what the industry changes that have happened me and what the ones that are coming are going to be. That way, you’re better prepared for the big shake-ups.

  500. Liz Says:

    I have the same reason you have. Because I get to do things only people read about!

    I was thinking that when I was eating dinner at the Forbidden Palace with Donatella Versace and Jet Li a few feet away. I was thinking that when I was asking Patrick Dempsey questions about his movie. I was also thinking that when a disabled community thanked me for my coverage on their woes.

    A lot of times it is extremely surreal.

    I certainly appreciate the chance to indulge in my passions and get paid for it. How many people get that lovely opportunity? Sure, I don’t get paid as much as my high-flying executive friends, but job happiness + good money management can get you places ;)

  501. Claire Brownell Says:

    What a thoughtful post. I’m a journalism student and I am also getting increasingly frustrated with the “silo effect:” I hear too many people in the industry pushing for more and faster web/social media coverage as the way of the future, claiming that the death of newspapers is evidence that no one cares about thoughtful, in-depth reporting that takes more time and resources. Obviously people do care, and somebody needs to start listening to them. There’s got to be a way to have both, and a way to find someone to pay for them.

  502. sunehra Says:

    For the first time, non-media people have a smidgen of understanding about what this industry is really like.

    FYI, love your blog! I’m a 25 year old web editor in NYC and can really relate to a lot of what you write about. i will definitely be coming back!

  503. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Why page jumps online are annoying, counterproductive Says:

    […] Now for the disclaimer. I do like to be paid. I understand there is a relationship between ads displayed and money made. So, I guess this is a gimmick to get more page views and inflate page counts. But there comes a point where that is counterproductive. And I think the sites, already teetering on that ledge, didn’t need this shove. (I have an ad blocker at home anyway. See my past discussion on what Web site “feature” pushed me over the edge on that.) I have also come to terms with that reasoning being the same as why my stories appear juxtaposed against “after hours” galleries of bar-hopping snapshots. Actually, I haven’t come to terms with that either, but it’s a discussion for another day. […]

  504. sunehra Says:

    I have the same reaction when I see a ‘Next Page’ but if it’s interesting enough, I’ll click.

  505. Greg Linch Says:

    I agree, especially regarding how NYT and a few other sites handle it with a “single page” option.

    Why must the reader do more than is necessary to access content?!

  506. The future of a broadcast media that can’t invest in young talent « Inky Binary Says:

    […] Some interesting articles on similar topics here, here and here […]

  507. fendres Says:

    The long load time on jumps can be a problem. On the other hand, poor (or lack of) page design where you have to scroll down through graf after graf of wide-column, unbroken gray type blocks to read the story can be just as annoying. And, cause folks to move on. Way too many newspapers are still just shoveling their print stories up to the Web with no subheads, bullet points, refers, links, pix . . . anything to break up the blob.

  508. Laura Says:

    Oh wow, and here’s yet another random google searcher. I wish those days could come back once more…
    I was one of the few (as I felt) European Teen Domainers, and I never found another Dutch girl with the same memories. Strange, how the whole scene just vanished! I bought simplistic.org at 15, had hostees, spent hours creating stylish graphics in PSP, making my daddy proud when he saw me typing HTML in Notepad. I even made it into a magazine as ‘one of the first girls with her own domain’.

    We should set up a retro UBB :)

  509. Jane Says:

    I accidentally stumbled upon this website while looking up information for a college report I have to do, and I have to say, I can be pretty annoying to walk down the street with too. I not only ask to pet the dog but usually ask the name, age, breed, ect. Usually the owner says they have to go, or I end up thinking I’ve annoyed him/her long enough. I have a cat at home, not in my dorm, and her name is Raleigh. She’s a beautiful Siamese mix. She got the pretty parts of a Siamese. The blue eyes on her, ooh they are so pretty. She does not have a long face like a Siamese though. She has a big gray spot on her back but the rest of her fur is pure white. Well, thank you for this fun little blog (I suppose that’s what this is) to read, but I better get back to work. Ta-ta!

  510. Nick Says:

    If I were an advertiser, I would be annoyed at the blatant “gaming” of the system by inflating page views this way. (That is, if I were stupid enough to be paying on the basis of page views.)

  511. Doing the leg work of public records research at JMC 352 Says:

    […] We haven’t discussed this in class, but it is something worth keeping in mind. Meranda Watling writes about an interesting phone call she fielded at the news desk: This man wanted us not to print the information (house prices) for the exact reason we publish a newspaper. We aim to get out, in a way that’s easy to access and digest, the information most people don’t know is available, wouldn’t know where to begin finding or would never have or take the time to pursue. You can argue about reporter’s biases and agenda, but one of the important roles we serve is as an impartial observer and chronicler. Our first draft of history, in most cases, is the only version that ever gets written. I have absolutely no stake in whether the price of that caller’s home gets printed or not. I do not care. But I do care that the record we publish is complete. He wanted it to be hard to access because he knows nobody will bother taking the time. Nobody except the newspaper that has decided publishing these public records is important. If journalists are not there to push for not only that but more important records, who will? […]

  512. Kate Martin Says:

    Good post, Meranda. I have a comment that is a bit off-topic, but that you addressed briefly in your post.

    I’m also running into a lot more concerned people who want to know how our local paper is doing. While my shop is not affiliated with a huge, publicly traded company, we are facing layoffs, wage cuts and furloughs.

    Their concern is so genuine that sometimes I can’t help but tear up a bit. A college president told me that if the newspaper went under, we might as well snatch his morning coffee out of his hand, too.

    I love reporting on news. While the cynics are alive and well, to see people so emotionally vested in what I do on a daily basis makes me feel like what I do matters.

  513. mcwflint Says:

    Thanks for the inspiring quote. Do you know the source for this quote? Did he say it in Frazz? At a speech? Or ….

  514. Kate Martin Says:

    You might be bad at being on furlough, but you are a good reporter if these restrictions bother you.

  515. jennifer Says:

    yep, another one.

    well written meranda! i too had one of those domains although not as popular but that’s probably because i was already 21 (although it was listed on way2kewl). this gave me memories of when i’d slave away in notepad creating new layouts on weekends. haha remember when domains had several people’s pages on it? those were so fun to look at. her post is kind of old already, but i remember the snuggles.net. had totally forgot about that one.

    thanks for writing this.

  516. Cool Links #41: My Age Blog Post « TEACH J: For Teachers of Journalism And Media Says:

    […] 5 – This one is lesson-worthy.  Meranda Writes has the best method for organizing a story before writing that I’ve ever seen.  I am going to use this to teach my students story organization this fall. […]

  517. Chris Vannoy Says:

    Thanks for the kind words.

    We have three writers in the system right now:

    Curt Cavin (Auto Racing): http://www2.indystar.com/reporters/curtcavin

    Andy Gammill (Education): http://www2.indystar.com/reporters/AndyGammill

    David Lindquist (Popular music): http://www2.indystar.com/reporters/DavidLindquist

    We’re still very beta-ish (still working through Publish2’s XML escaping in their feed at the moment), but the plan is to get as many reporters as possible into the system shortly.

    We’re also starting to add more content types: Podcast feeds are kludgy right now, and video’s probably our next step.

    The other nice thing is we can use the same basic infrastructure and idea and turn them into topics-based pages down the road (something we’re still nibbling around).

  518. Kate Martin Says:

    Hi Meranda,

    I am sure for every reporter there is another method for organizing blocks of information, and believe me, I’ve tried them all when writer’s block takes hold. These are some very good tips, but let me throw out another.

    If I am stuck on even how to organize the story, I try to type out the parts that I know are going in, good quotes and essential information. That way, if I have it on paper still, or it’s typed in my shorthand, at least I am a bit closer to the finished product.

    When writing any old story, I usually write the body first and then work on the lede. Early in my career I had been told that I bury my lede so much that it just became a habit to not even write one until the rest of the story was finished.

    A great book for narrative journalism story structure is Writing for Story by Jon Franklin, if you are ever inclined.

  519. Becky VanderMeulen Says:

    You’re right, awards are a crap shoot. But they’re a nice resume boost too.

  520. Rachel Schleif Says:

    Nice post, Meranda! I wondered how many of us had signed on Twitter. I’m curious how other edu writers use it, so I’ll be sure to look these folks up. Add one for Washington State: @writetorachel. I’m an education reporter for the Wenatchee World.

  521. Cool Links #47: Stress Less « TEACH J: For Teachers of Journalism And Media Says:

    […] 2 – This next one comes from one of my favorite bloggers, although she does not have time to blog often, Miranda Writes has a post with a list of educational reporters who have Twitter feeds and it is organized by state, so check out your state/city.  If you have an education reporter in your town/newspaper and they’re not on her list – let her know. […]

  522. Chris Amico Says:

    I’m a former education reporter, if that counts for anything. Great list.

  523. Andy Shaw Says:

    Thanks for the mention, Meranda. I’m going to do what most reporters do now– take advantage of someone else’s legwork and add a bunch of Twitter friends! Nice to see I’m not the only ed. reporter on Twitter. I just started my account (and my newspaper’s ed blog) recently, but I’m trying to make it a combo of useful links and tidbits of instant info– i.e. “just got off the phone with so and so who said this”, although only using on the record stuff, of course. Will be interested to see how others tackle it.

  524. Meranda Says:

    Thanks Rachel, Chris and Andy.

    @Andy — That’s what I’m hoping others do with this list. Half the point of compiling it was for my own ability to follow peers. I kind of post all over the place: random tid-bits of scanner traffic, announcements from school board meetings, links to this blog, links to my or fellow reporters stories, links to my school notebook blog, photos of funny things I see. I figure it adds personality, and you get a feel for where I’m at and what’s going on. I don’t look at it as a “work” account. But if you’re interested in what I cover, you get an insider’s view on a lot of what I’m up to. I saw some of these accounts were similar to me, but as I talked about above, they’re kind of all over the place. No wrong way. :)

  525. Megan Downs Says:

    Thanks for the add! This is a VERY useful list! It’s great to see how other reporters are using Twitter.

  526. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » Webby five-word speeches; NYTimes: No longer a newspaper site Says:

    […] Semi-related: my previous post on summing up journalism in six words. […]

  527. Lori Crouch Says:

    Hi Meranda:
    I found out about your wonderful list from Andy Gammill, who alerted members on our listserv. Education Writers Association is the professional organization for reporters who cover education. We’d also love to mention your list in our newsletter and perhaps on our website, if you wouldn’t mind.

    We even have a Twitter account — @EdWriters

  528. Meranda Says:

    Thanks, Lori. I’d definitely like the help getting the word out to your members. The whole point is to connect education writers with each other on Twitter.

    ~ Meranda

  529. Greg Linch Says:

    Don’t forget DISD!

    Name: Tawnell Hobbs
    Location: Dallas, Texas
    Web: http://dallasisdblog.dallasnews.com
    Bio: Tawnell Hobbs covers the Dallas school district.

  530. Breanna Gaddie Says:

    I see what you mean. This doesn’t excuse the reporter, but she does work for a tv station. For whatever reason, it seems like stories -seen- on a tv news channel may have a lit bit of entertainment value added in. Like I said, it doesn’t excuse the reporter or anybody in broadcast journalism, but this one was a little over the top.

  531. Tutor Says:

    Nice list of people to follow. Especially if you are looking for updates within the education world.

    Thanks for sharing.

  532. Margot Says:

    How ambitious! I will be looking forward to reading your articles every month in the J&C!
    Sorry to say that I am not a veteran reporter, however, I am a veteran mom. I have a daughter who will be a senior at Jeff in the fall, a son entering Sunnyside, and a son who will be starting pre-school. I am a full-time student at Ivy Tech studying Agriculture. I follow you on Twitter (I am wabashriver1) and enjoy reading your updates there!

  533. Monica Rhor Says:

    This is a great resource. Can you add me to the list?

    I just started covering education out of the Associated Press’s Houston bureau.


  534. Alan Gottlieb Says:

    Here’s one for Colorado. Education News Colorado, a foundation-funded news site, staffed ny former Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post writers and editors: @ednews

  535. Technolo-j » Blog Archive » A curmudgeon journalist gets inspired: a short subject Says:

    […] MERANDA WATLING wrote a post on her blog which reminded me why the news business will survive. […]

  536. Jen Says:

    For those of you wishing to re-connect with others from the teen domain scene – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=122613911090

  537. Jackie Borchardt Says:

    Great list! I’ve got one from Wyoming — me!
    Education blog: http://tribtown.trib.com/reportcard

  538. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » What I’ve learned two months into a 10-month series Says:

    […] As I previously wrote about, I began in August the first part of a 10-month series. The series is basically a year in the life of a local elementary school on the brink (it was then at least…) of restructuring because of No Child Left Behind. The idea was and is to go inside and spend time at a “failing school” to see what takes place in the classroom, on the playground, in the office, at the homes, etc. and examine why this school is in the position it is and what we can learn from it. It’s a comprehensive look at all the different factors that come into play, each month focusing on a different facet. […]

  539. Ben C Says:

    The comments expressed at last night’s advisory board meeting were all very positive. Everyone seemed to really like the “On the front lines” article.

  540. Rachel Says:

    This looks like a fascinating series. I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.

  541. Valerie Chernek Says:

    I am a K-12 educational freelance writer focusing on accessibility issues in schools. I work with educators all across America who use assistive technologies for students with disabilities in special education.

  542. Time crunch « UB Fundamentals of Journalism Says:

    […] I had a hard time with the outline that we had to hand in last week. I don’t outline stories very often. Even with longer stories, I’ll have a basic idea of the structure  in my head, and I might jot down a few points on paper before I start writing once in a while, but I usually just form the story as I go, working out the structure in a way that makes sense as I write and see where the story goes. […]

  543. » Story outlining tips »  Rachel Kaufman Says:

    […] Meranda of Meranda Writes posts her outlining method here. It’s analog and oldschool, but effective…she writes each “fact” on a post-it note sliver and rearranges. […]

  544. Buffy Register Says:

    I have had a killer toothache nothing will help, it stems from my TMJ..long story. I filled a woman’s sock with dried rice and tied it shut, then popped it into the microwave for minute and a half…your micro might be different, so try different times. You end up with moist heat which will last several minutes. When it cools off, put it back in the micro and warm it again. WOW, it feels good laid on my check next to the sore tooth.

  545. Chip Oglesby Says:

    Retaining institutional knowledge

    What happens to newspapers institutional knowledge when layoffs happen? What can be done to retain that information? enter the wiki.

  546. Stephanie Lynn Says:

    Sue Palmer: Well that would work too “teach them to long for foreign places” or something.

    Love love love this quote, I think this should be engraved on the front door of every school in the world.

  547. Ben C Says:

    Murdoch didn’t get where he is without playing the game some (okay, a lot). A simple technical solution for Google’s “stealing” of content (which is anything but) has existed for years. That whole bit was just a way to get some publicity (as if News Corp. really needs it?). As for the Bing deal, if that goes through, it is either monumentally stupid, or will end up being proven brilliant based on something that the rest of the world doesn’t see.

  548. David Wescott Says:

    I actually wrote about this very topic last week on my own blog – I’m more of a PR/social media schlub who writes an occasional opinion column than an actual journalist, but I think you have it pegged. I’m not about to use another search engine. If I want to read a particular paper, odds are I have the url bookmarked and already subscribe/pay. If I just want to know “what’s happening today” Google has more than enough content and will for the forseeable future.

    here’s my post if you’re interested…


  549. Producer Bill Says:

    It makes me wonder whether the reporter, Niccole Caan, wrote the story herself or not. The “tag” in the text was slightly different than what she closed off the story with. The text was far funnier: “The bakeries offer more than JUST DESSERTS… they also have other varieties of baked goods.” Niccole Caan, on the other hand, adlibbed “The bakeries offer more than baked goods… they also offer a variety of other desserts.”

    If I were Niccole’s producer for this show, I would have told her if she’s going to put that many puns in — and for a simple story as this, it could frankly make it more engaging to the viewer and listener — by all means give us some big smiles!

    Features, especially on TV — and even more especially on local television — can sometimes lend themselves to humor, lightheartedness, and yes, puns. Stories about bakeries, even more so — just read the headline I punned up for this story: “http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/warren-bakery-losing-money-over-RIDOT-sidewalk-project-“

  550. Calling Out A Troll – Let’s Talk on Seesmic « DigiDave – Journalism is a Process, Not a Product Says:

    […] Recently journalism blogs have merited their own troll. From what I can tell this individual started appearing after the “infamous comment thread” on Jessica DaSilva’s blog, but I’ve also seen the individual comment on other blogs. […]

  551. amber Says:

    Yeah I remember back then, too. I was about 14 at the same time all this started going on and it seemed very cool back then! I started on gurlpages.com (remember back then?) and then it became cool to own your own domain, come up with a wicked design, put up some content, get lots of links to your website, put up silly still pictures of yourself from a webcam, host people on your domain, etc. I remember way2kewl before it became TDO, also. I loved those times and it was a nice escape away from school and home life. Sometimes I wish it was still that way :)

  552. Jen Says:

    Found this through Google, too.

    Those were the days. I’m still in touch with two of my old ‘teen doman’ pals – We’ve all grown up to work on the web in one way or another. Will today’s MySpace junkies be tomorrow’s graphic designers? For their sake, I hope so.

  553. Jen Says:

    FYI – A little more googling found me this:


    Looks like a dump of way2kewl’s teen domania list.

  554. Laura Says:

    Oh Jen that’s so cool, and my old domain is on the list!
    But your facebook link doesn’t seem to work, what is the name of the group?

  555. Jess Says:

    Hello! This posting is old, but I am currently facing the EXACT same dilemma! Feel like I’m in the stone ages as I’m just signing up for LinkedIn in 2010, and the majority of my experience is in newspapers.
    My first thought however was the same as yours – that people will think I am not new-age enough if I put newspapers!
    Also have experience in video production, and would probably like to go this route in a career, but also am willing to take what I can get :)

    I see on your page that you are now filed under Publishing. What made you change?

  556. P. Says:

    Another random google searcher :) I was looking to see if the TDO site was still up because a friend of mine posted some Nike’s and said they were 90s web design colours (orange and gray), and I was thinking damn if that site is still up it’s _so_ 90s! I was also of the Teen domain era – it’s great to see comments from people like Sasha on here! Still living and breathing web :)

  557. Paul Guinnessy Says:

    Actually you will be able to multitask with the new OS 4.0 that will be rolled out to the iPhone 3GS as well as be on the new iPhone HD. What you can do already is work on your phone, take a call, browse the web etc.. while you’re still on the phone. That I think, the Droid can’t do. Both have their pros and cons, and it sounds like you’ve got the right phone for you.

  558. Kristine Says:

    Wow. This is just totally random. I was part of that era as well. I spent most of the late 90s as a hostee at Allusive.net before getting my own domain after that (invention13.net). I kinda wondered what happened to everyone so after a bit of Googling, I found this page. Thanks so much for writing this post–you wrote it exactly how I remembered it. It’s kinda neat to see what happened to everyone :)

  559. Kaci Says:

    There’s a possibility I may be a bit biased toward print journalism, but…

    Leave it to TV news to screw up a story.

  560. Mridu Khullar Says:

    That’s a very interesting story. Kudos to your editors as well, who trusted you and allowed you the freedom to explore the details of the issue when it wasn’t working out.

  561. Ben C Says:

    “it was cool to me that I had some say in the number, so I wanted to take advantage of it”

    And that’s why my GV number ends in “ZOMG”. :-)

  562. Kate Martin Says:

    If only I had known about this in mid-2007 (looks like it was GrandCentral then). I had the most awesome cell number in Colorado (very easy to remember with sequential numbers) but had moved to Washington State. Oh well. I’ll try it out next time I move.

  563. Meranda Writes » Blog Archive » QOTD: The future does not fit in the containers of the past Says:

    […] I came across this quote recently, and it seemed to make a lot of sense in the context of journalism. So I wanted to pass it on to my readers. I see its meaning similar to one of my other favorite quotes, which I posted awhile back: […]

  564. Tommy Bonus Says:

    Video production at its best! Do you have any tips for someone just out of school

  565. Monday 5 to follow « infLo Says:

    […] May 31, 2010 These tweeps’ bios have been quoted from Mirandawrites.com, a great resource for finding a network of reporters on education! […]

  566. Jessica Priest Says:

    I am reading your series and I really admire your passion for journalism. I can only hope to become as great of a journalist as you are. Thanks for sharing!

  567. Marisol Lotto Says:

    Muy buen artículo. Gracias!

  568. Mercedez Picolet Says:

    Hell of a shame that negative folk are still out there thirsting for a pound of flesh.

  569. Elaine Redd Says:


    Great list. Thanks for doing all the leg work. I am in public relations and have been looking for a few education reporters. This list will be a tremendous start. Let us know how we can return the favor.


  570. Marie Martin Says:

    Here’s another one from Texas and Arkansas.

    Name: Marie Martin
    Location: Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas

    Web: http://www.texarkanagazette.com

    Marie Martin covers K-12 and higher education in Southwest Arkansas and Northeast Texas.

  571. Marie Martin Says:


  572. Amber Says:

    Wow, this really IS so random, and yet … ? Not really! I was 1/3 owner of cakedemons.com in the late 90s and HEAVILY involved in this scene in high school. I went on to live with Shae of plastique.org for a while after high school and a move to the bay area. What a trip!

  573. Meg Says:

    Hi Meranda –

    This is really lovely and heartfelt. I think I can relate to a lot of what you said. Best of luck with Angie’s List, and congratulations! Remember, too, your job does not define you, though it undoubtedly shapes you.

    – Meg

  574. Sarah Says:


    Thanks for this post. I too have been feeling the same way about my career — where I am and where it’s going. I don’t know if I could ever really say goodbye to newspapers, but I also know the industry is at a turning point right now. Who knows what lays ahead?

    Thanks for expressing all of your thoughts and difficulties with walking away. I’m sure you made the right decision and will be happier in the long run for it. All the best.

  575. Paul Guinnessy Says:

    I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to. Congratulations on the new job! It sounds like a fun gig! The ability to know when its best to walk away is a skill some of your older peers are still learning.Good luck with your future endeavors …

  576. grace Says:

    A lot of what you said rung really true for me even though I was a copy editor at a newspaper rather than a on-call-all-the-time reporter. I left the newspaper industry a little more than three years ago for magazine publishing, and the difference is astounding. Not only because of the better work-life balance, but I feel like people are much more likely to stagnate in their positions at a newspaper. In the three years I’ve worked for my current company, I’ve had two promotions, the most recent of which made me an online editor, which is a perfect gig for me. There were people on my old copy desk who’d been in their same positions out of college for five years with no promotion/movement in sight. I’m sure you’re much happier now, and I’m happy too!

  577. Meranda Says:

    Thanks for the replies, everyone. :) It’s good to know I’m not alone. Though, I knew it wasn’t just me because I knew what the other young journos at my paper and around the country expressed similar sentiments. A lot of them have started new jobs in recent months as well. I guess that’s the encouraging part: We’re not satisfied with status quo, and there are options out there for the open-minded.

  578. Abbey Says:

    Mer — Great post. Very ‘your voice.’ You’ve always been an inspiration for me, from my very earliest days in J-school, and it’s quite possible I wouldn’t be where I am today — in a reporting job I feel is a great fit for me — because of you. As high school yearbook-y as it sounds: “I know you’ll go far.” — Abs

  579. Carl Says:


    The newspaper business is worse off without you. But you sound happy. And that’s the most important thing.

  580. barb Says:

    Meranda – as I said in August…it’s the right move at the right time…and we’re happy you are happy! b

  581. Bryan Murley Says:

    Congrats on the new job, Miranda. And good luck. And, as usual, great post.

  582. Kelly Says:

    I can confess to late-night googling today’s domain online and finding this. How great. I was the owner of evergleam.org during the teen domain scene. I often think back and laugh to myself about the days of UBBs and hostees, and that we truly did create this sense of community on the internet. Although many of my “real life” friends made fun of me for what I would like to refer to as my days as a web designer, I think that we were learning, engaging, and networking with each other– developing invaluable skills that can translate into today’s highly competitive job market. Sometimes I wonder what may have happened to my hostees and friends as well as former hosts. It’s crazy to read that list of past domains and remembering the names behind some of those domains, sadly I must have abandoned evergleam before that list. It was wonderful to read this post, Meranda. Thanks for providing a bit of nostalgia.

  583. Jenny Says:

    I’ve been facing the same problem. I used to be out taking photos and shooting video every day and now I work at a desk as an online editor. I’ve been looking for a fun little project to get back into shooting on a regular basis and I’m really inspired by the Washington Post’s style videos.
    Basically they profile a community based on their fashion style.
    I’m thinking of hitting the streets of Toronto when the weather gets a bit nicer and trying something like this.

    Good luck!

  584. #Blog4Reform Media Links « Cooperative Catalyst Says:

    […] http://merandawrites.com/2009/07/07/a-list-of-90-education-reporters-on-twitter/ […]

  585. Dawn Marks Says:

    I am no longer an education reporter. I am an education researcher for the Oklahoma House of Representatives. I just wanted to let you know since it seems that I am getting more followers who are listing me as an education reporter. It isn’t a big deal but it seems that some folks are still referencing your blog, so I thought I’d let you know! Thanks!

  586. Lisa Gulya Says:

    Thanks for hunting all these folks down so we new education reporters don’t have to!

    I’m an education reporter at the Grand Forks Herald newspaper in Grand Forks, N.D.



  587. The mistress journalism: Part lovely, part abuse « Talkers & Teachers Says:

    […] a position elsewhere. She didn’t leave journalism, as she made a point of saying in one blog entry, but it was a departure from daily […]

  588. Jen Says:

    I remember you, Kelly! :)

    I’m doing some research and hoping to put together a blog about my experience with the teen domain scene. And I just registered http://teendomainscene.com. Maybe we can use it to find and keep up with others that were involved in the scene back then.

  589. You're Still Allowed to Major in Journalism Says:

    […] count this major out. If nothing else, ponder the opinion Meranda Watling, reporter and creator of Meranda Writes, gives when she says, “Being a reporter means your job will be cooler than 95 percent of the kids […]

  590. Google Voice helps me look like a local « the em dash Says:

    […] then I read this post by Meranda Watling on her Meranda Writes blog. And I became even more […]

  591. Mistress journalism « Moore Writes Says:

    […] accepted a position elsewhere. She didn’t leave journalism, as she made a point of saying in one blog entry, but it was a departure from daily […]

  592. Google Voice helps me look like a local | The Em Dash Says:

    […] then I read this post by Meranda Watling on her Meranda Writes blog. And I became even more […]

  593. Gain invaluable skills | Advancing the Story Says:

    […] about the future at bay.  Was it a mistake to get into this business?  Not at all, says reporter Meranda Watling, who covers education for the Journal & Courier in Lafayette, Indiana. Although it’s far more […]

  594. Review of Blogging Your Passion University Course 201 - uglygreencouch.net Says:

    […] I remember when amazon.com only sold books and when ebay didn’t exist. I survived the teen domain craze even though I couldn’t afford to buy a domain name like the cool kids. I was in junior high […]

  595. Week 1: A Look At Other Journalists’ Blogs | Charles' Professional Portfolio Blog Says:

    […] Writes (http://merandawrites.com/clips/) has gone for a totally different look to Josephine Mould. Instead ofsimple design with plenty of […]