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Meranda Watling

Meranda Watling is a twenty-something reporter by day and blogger (or more prolific twitterer) by night.

She writes about consumer affairs for the Angie’s List Magazine based in Indianapolis, but going out to members nationwide. She is a 2006 graduate of Kent State University‘s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is about a half hour from her hometown of Akron, Ohio.

When she’s not reporting, tweeting or oversharing photos of her adorable mutt, Shakespeare, she divides her free time between enjoying the local parks system, eating out, reading through her book and blog backlog, crafting or pinning crafts she wants to do, attempting to complete sudoku and crossword puzzles, collecting inspirational quotes and sleeping.

Why journalism?

“Give a man a job he loves, and he will never work a day in his life.”
— Confucius

I chose to become a journalist because I thought I couldn’t do it. When surveying my career options, journalism was so far out of my league, out of comfort zone, I just knew I would never make it as a reporter, let alone become a good reporter. Yet, I wanted a challenge. You never know what could have been unless or until you fail, right?

Most people pick careers based on their strengths — mine were math and science — or their interests — I did minor in sociology but didn’t fit in a third semester of calculus to add a computer science line to my transcript. I could have done anything. In fact, I fully expected to change my major and go into something better suited. But I find the best place to be is never lumped with “most people.”

When I enrolled in college, I didn’t know where a comma belonged in a sentence, that there was a difference between lay and lie or that the Associated Press Stylebook existed. I had never attended a school board or city council meeting. I was outgoing in person but shy to the point of tears if you put me on the phone to a stranger.

It turns out, my miscellaneous interests and experiences are valuable in this profession, too. I grew up reading the daily newspapers my father left on the kitchen table, and my magazine subscriptions numbered about a half-dozen. My Web design and Photoshop skills were also sharpened during years of guess-and-check self-education in HTML and CSS. I wasn’t nearly as inadequate as I expected to be.

I remember the first story I wrote for my college newspaper. It ran on A1. As a result of my reporting, officials actually changed their policy on student software discounts. How much more of a hook could you need? If I needed more, it came in my second story, which carried A1. The night that my story about a victim of identity theft ran, an acquaintance was tossing credit card offers in the trash when she stopped, recovered it, ripped it up and turned to our group to tell us about my story. I was sold.

Still, I wasn’t sure I was cut out for daily reporting. So few are. I was petrified, even after an internship and working my way up to lead my college newspaper, that I would suck, that I would hate it, that I would regret not taking one of those other paths when they were in reach. It took a big leap of faith for me to take a beat reporting job when my interests were perhaps even more in line with online producing. I didn’t regret it, but realized after nearly four years that the crazy deadlines didn’t add up to much personal life. So I moved on to magazines. I still find the same attraction: I constantly meet (or at least speak with) new people and learn new things, which I get to turn around and teach or share with thousands of other strangers. I see people at their best, and at their worst, and I get to question everything. Journalists experience the things most people only read about.

About MerandaWrites.com

I talk fast. And that makes it difficult when you introduce yourself and people misunderstand you. I say, “Meranda.” They hear Brenda, Amanda, Sandra, Briana, or any other concoction of a female name that is multiple syllables and ends in a. I always correct them, “No, Meranda. As in the Miranda Rights.”

That’s where the title for this Web site came from. Meranda may be my name, but writing and reporting is my passion. I thought it was a clever pun, and after conferring with a few friends who reassured me it wasn’t too over the top, I registered the domain and got to work. This site will house my resume and work, journalistic mostly, and a blog where I’ll write about whatever strikes me on that given day.

As I note on the side of every page, this is my personal Web site and blog. Though I will at times post about cool projects or difficult to nail stories I complete for my day job, my opinions do not represent my employer.