Monday, May 12, 2014

What’s next

{TL;DR version: I have a new gig — I’m going to work with Beacon for a bit. I’m looking for awesome people to work with in LA and elsewhere, so call me, maybe?}

Over the past few weeks, I saw this guy tell a story about growing up in Hollywood, and this cat told me not to give up on LA.

I also took a step back and tried to focus on completing a few things that work had always taken over. Like, creating a new #WJCHAT website, and finally submitting to the Amtrak Residency program.

Getting laid off teaches you lessons. This was time number three for me, and though I am an old hat at it, it still wasn’t easy.

I’ve learned that I love traditional newsrooms, even if they bite at me from time to time. I’ve certainly learned how to pitch myself and how to interview for a job. I’ve learned that California finally got it’s act together regarding unemployment. I’ve learned that when you are in need, people will hold you up.

So, thanks for all the e-mails, calls, offers to e-introduce me to someone, kind words said to a place I applied to, offers of a little bit of freelance cash, and most of all, kindness. My heart swells thinking of all the people who I thought I didn’t know so well, but spoke to me like we had been best friends forever. Horizontal loyalty, indeed.

I will admit there were many days of staying in bed and wallowing, wondering if I should give it all up. But those are over.

After the weeks of pondering, I’ve decided that I’m going to do some work with Beacon.

The reasons are many, but really, I want to try to fix some problems I’ve seen in journalism. Beacon has a wonderful team behind it, and the writing their community supports blows me away. I am going to be the Los Angeles front for them, because this has stories, and the writers to tell them. I’ve been waiting five long years for journalism to discover LA, and I’m done waiting for someone else to do it.

This place should be a powerhouse. It should be up there with NYC and DC with jobs, start-ups and journalism prowess. We have the history, the money, and the people to make it happen. The LA Times should be not the only great place to write, it should be one of hundreds.

This is why I haven’t left. And this is what I’m going to do. Hopefully, I am not wrong.

If you want to be part of it, you know how to find me. If you see the stories and the potential like I do, let’s make it happen.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The real answer to “How are you doing?”

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this for a few days. Whether it’s a bulleted learning-type post or just a flat out public diary entry. I’ve vacillated between being very open about all this, to closed and calculated.

But the hell with it. Open up. Today is my last day at Thunderdome.

I’ve known that for two weeks now. And it’s been a hell of a two weeks. Everyone has been amazing. The support, job help, kind words and tweets have blown me away. I am pretty sure I haven’t even responded to them all, but I’m trying.

About today

Today is a terrible, rotten, no-good day. In a way, spending three months at Thunderdome was a taste of the good life. I had just gotten into my rhythm when this all went down. My snapchats were perfect, to start with.

So, today, I am spending threatening to cry, as I have been for two weeks. It’s been up and down. On a day with a job interview, I think that it will all be OK and I’ll land well, as everyone says. Some days, I wake up, thinking about and missing the amazing people I work with. 

It is hard to walk away, forced or not. I feel like a part of this, even after three months, and I feel like an fraud in everything else, thanks to Impostor Syndrome.

You’d think that being laid off twice before would have prepared me for this, but it didn’t. Honestly, getting laid off will rip your heart out every time. It can also be an amazing twist in the road, but it always hurts.

Three things

Bullet-pointed, three things I’m trying to remember.

Good bosses are there for you . I have this feeling Robyn, Jim and Steve will be there for me when I need it. So far, they’ve given me advice and left kind words behind them as they scoop through the journalism world, trying to get us all hired. In an interview yesterday, I was surprised to learn Jim had gotten there first and talked to the person about me without my knowing.

That’s not to mention Julie, who I was already friends with, and was just as an amazing boss as I had hoped. I’ve had a few bad bosses in my career, and these guys reminded me that a boss can be a mentor and a friend.

Thunderdome will live forever.  I sometimes have a hard time with failure, mostly because it’s a key part of the sadness that can sometimes plague me. But it also excites me, once I get to the good part. We didn’t fail. We tried. And we learned. We’re all walking away with ideas and plans in our heads. I’m pretty sure we’ll be conspiring and drinking for the rest of our lives, in some fashion. 

There are good things next. The question of what is next is pretty open. I’ve already had some amazing discussions with places I can’t believe even know my name. And I’ve talked to places about things that make my skin prickle with excitement with the sense of doing something new. I will be OK. You won’t catch me announcing anything soon. I’m going to take my time and think about what sort of shop I want to be at, and hopefully help lead. 

Meanwhile, I’ve made minor attempts at getting somewhere with my fiction writing, something I’ve never really given up on.

tl;dr How am I doing? OK. Just OK. But I will be better. Mostly, I will miss all of the fine people I’m now lucky enough to call friends.

(Sorry that this is eerily similar to my post two weeks again. Again, writing as processing.)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

To the end.

I’m a writer, so I automatically have to process everything via writing. So, given the news, here goes.

I spent three months with Thunderdome. When I made the decision to go there and leave KPCC, I was so excited. It was a room full of some of my favorite people, and others that I wanted to work for for a long time.

And God, those people were amazing. Everyone believed I was competent. Everyone had faith in me. We all pushed each other to try new things, look at a story a different way, write about that idea. We laughed, and I never felt alone even though I was across the country.

I had no fear, no anxiety, nothing but excitement about work and I felt empowered.

We were working on some cool shit. I was working on some cool shit.

I’m, um, crying as I write this, because I’ve been laid off before, but I’ve never been laid off when I was in the middle of working on something I think I would be proud of for the rest of my career.

Do I regret taking the job now that I know it wasn’t for long? Not one bit.

So thanks to everyone there. I could list names but I would end up listing everyone. I would work with every one of you at Thunderdome (and at LANG, too for that matter) in a heartbeat. You are all welcome at my house in LA. We will get beers and Snapchat everyone else.

So hire these people. Hire me, for that matter. We are smart, young, and we want to make journalism better.

That’s it, for now. Thanks for reading my weepiness.

Monday, March 24, 2014
The CMSs of today don’t work well at all on mobile. Yet writers should be able to author content from a phone with the same simplicity with which they compose a tweet … maybe even from the same interface. Rethinking the content management system for mobile | VentureBeat | Mobile | by Jason Baptiste, Onswipe
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
To help users quickly find what they need, anchor text should stand out from the body content and accurately describe the page that it refers to. A good overview of how to link appropriately so people will click on the links in your article.
Writing Hyperlinks: Salient, Descriptive, Start with Keyword
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The fact is that more women in the magazine means fewer men in the magazine, and that seems to be a tough thing for the men who run these magazines to accept and execute. VIDA count 2013: Magazine editors respond.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The opportunity for leadership in the journalism business, just happens to be same leadership opportunity as in all businesses. Leaders just need to start leading. The Future of the News Business: A Monumental Twitter Stream All in One Place | Marc Andreessen
Monday, February 24, 2014
I kept waiting for the lights to turn off, to signal the end of the day. But the lights did not shut off. I began to count the small holes carved in the walls. Tiny grooves made by inmates who’d chipped away at the cell as the cell chipped away at them. My Night in Solitary - NYTimes.com
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Unfortunately, the answer to the activist’s question of “why” is ignored in a clickbait competition where a picture is worth zero words. The only “wh-“ word that matters is “whoa”: Look at the fire, the water, the bullets, the blood. Look, but do not listen. Look inward, at the movie you watched that looked like Ukraine, at the painting you saw that looked like Ukraine. Look at Ukraine without seeing Ukraine. The Day We Pretended to Care About Ukraine - Sarah Kendzior - POLITICO Magazine
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
There’s evidence from the humanities, though, that genius doesn’t decline with age at all. Over 40% of both Robert Frost’s and William Carlos Williams’ best poems were written after the poets turned 50. Paul Cézanne’s highest-priced paintings were made the year he died. Why major creative breakthroughs happen in your late thirties - Quartz