Trust, partnership with you are worth striving for

My first editorial of 2017, which appeared in our Jan. 4 issue of Siuslaw News, was inspired by an unanticipated trip through our local history while sorting through old newspapers — and an opportunity to underscore the importance of trust and integrity in journalism…

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January 4, 2017

imageI spent part of my New Year’s weekend here in the newsroom, tackling a re-organization project of files and materials that have been staring at me for nearly a decade — the gaze of which grew stronger after becoming editor in September.

The project entailed sifting through boxes of old newspaper issues, special publications, documents, journalistic guidelines and historic reference materials that had been collecting along a wall of shelves in our newsroom since the late 1990s.

With 2017 looming, it seemed like the perfect time to sort through the past in order to benefit our newsroom’s future. Coincidentally, it also got me out of washing the dog, but you didn’t read that here.  Continue reading

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Investigating the latest crisis: Flamin’ Hot Cheeto addiction

I thought I was nearly undetectable in my “school teacher” disguise; obviously, I was wrong.

Being a journalist can be dangerous. Especially when it involves middle schoolers and their snack food. I knew this when I approached my editor, who can also be dangerous, particularly when her candy drawer is found empty, even though she keeps it locked with a key hidden in a folder labeled Extra Work for Reporters.

In spite of this danger, I asked if I could go undercover to investigate what Fox News reported as “a growing crisis in schools across the country — and we’re pretty sure that country is somewhere in the U.S.”

What I’m talking about, of course, is the growing crisis of “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos” addiction.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, a teacher in New Mexico wants to ban Flamin’ Hot Cheetos from school due to the snack’s complete lack of nutritional value and its addictive nature.

“But Twinkies are fine,” she added. Continue reading

Snoring is sure sign of a seasoned journalist

What may appear as sleeping to the untrained eye is actually the complex routine of a seasoned journalist focused on a Pulitzer … or possibly a Putziler.

Every journalist has a routine. For example, I always write my column early in the morning. The earlier the better. That’s because, generally speaking, I’m not awake yet. Sure, I may be drinking coffee and typing, but if you were to monitor my brain activity, it would register somewhere between an earthworm and the average American watching Jersey Shore.

Admittedly, my brain doesn’t open for business until about 10 a.m. By then, I’ve been at the keyboard for three or four hours with no real memory of what I’ve been writing. I assure my editor this unique quirk is the sign of a seasoned professional.

And she assures me the reason we need to keep replacing my keyboard is because, at least once a month, she finds me face down drooling on the return key. That may be true, but I tend to do my best work under pressure. And there’s nothing like the pressure of trying to finish a column before saliva short-circuits your keyboard. Continue reading