#Micropoetry Monday: Opposites

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He was a hard-boiled journalist
who believed that truth was so soon buried,
he would outscoop his colleagues
so that he could put it all out there ASAP;
she was a soft-hearted historian
who believed that by letting the dust settle,
the truth would either present itself
or degrade altogether.

She had an overactive imagination,
he, an overactive pituitary,
yet it was she who told the tallest stories,
him being the only one who understood any of them,
for his head was as much in the clouds
as her feet were off the ground.

He was journalism,
she, reality TV.
When they came together,
they created the fake news
that surpassed every rating
they’d ever had.

Poem-a-Day April 2019 Writer’s Digest Challenge #9. Theme: Love/Anti-Love #aprpad

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The Drive-By Media Whore

Constance Porter had coined Tunnelgate,
Plazagate,
& Graffitigate,
plus half a dozen others.
Con had never met a strawman she didn’t love
or a gotcha question left unasked,
for the exploitation of even the most useless information
feathered this goose’s nest egg
by getting people to care too much about things
that didn’t amount to a molehill of beans,
distracting them from the real, less interesting news.

https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2019-april-pad-challenge-day-9

15 More Things I’ve Learned (so far) as Editor-in-Chief of the Student Newspaper

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Collaborations can be cluster!@#$s. Just as too many chefs spoil the stock, too many writers (not editors) can be confusing. It is better to give a cub (i.e. newbie) a small feature that requires little writing and have someone mentor them than have them share a bigger story that is perfectly capable of being done by one seasoned reporter. My job is to get the paper out, however I can make that happen.  Plus, who the hell wants to share a byline?

Create a mock layout for your layout editor. It serves the same purpose as the outline of a story and will make their job much easier.

Sticking to deadlines will help separate the wheat from the chaff.

If you love to create and tell your own story, you’re a writer; if you love to gather data and tell the stories of others, you’re a reporter.

Don’t contribute to “fake news” by giving people credit who did not contribute to the final product or service; contribution can be as small as editing a story, selling an ad, or even delivering newspapers. Coming to meetings does not count. (We don’t get paid for coming to them.)

AP (Associated Press) style needs to adopt the Oxford comma for clarity.

E-mail to set up a time to do interviews, not conduct them. Giving people too much time to think about what to say takes away from the immediacy.

The newspaper is not a newsletter (i.e. lists of names, calendar of events, et cetera). It should tell stories with words and pictures (which is why captions should accompany all photos).

In the Arts and Entertainment section, covering actual events on campus, like plays and concerts, are far preferable to reviews about random things. Reviews don’t require any legwork, and the Internet is flooded with them. A humor or opinion piece that ties in to the school is much preferred.

Group shots are unavoidable; action shots are preferable. The former says, “We were there”; the latter says, “We were there doing this.”

Steal from your competitors, then elevate what they have done. For example, a competitor that shall remain nameless has a page called “The Briefs.” We upgraded ours to “Pirate Briefs” (the pirate is our mascot)—a photo collage of unrelated events (with captions, of course).

Give your photos a name, so they’ll be easier to find (no IMG_2020).

A few of us conducted a poll/survey of at least 75 students (100 is optimal, but hey, we’re short-staffed) for an infographic. We could’ve just included boring statistics, but we decided to humanize our findings by including student comments. This is a fantastic way to get student names in the paper (btw, headshots NEVER belong in an infographic), because don’t many of us, when reading a controversial blog post, go straight to the comments section? (After reading the original post, of course.) What’s more, when we conducted these polls, many of us asked professors’ permission to use a few minutes of class time to get a bunch of these surveys filled out at once. That said, in the interest of a diverse pool of respondents, we only did this in classes where the course was a general requirement, or where all the majors weren’t just English or healthcare or cybersecurity. (In other words, don’t get a bulk of responses from a poetry or creative writing class.)

If your newspaper has a Facebook page (if it doesn’t, get it one), you probably won’t have enough content to post daily, but if you have archives that aren’t available online, repost covers, stories, et cetera, that tie in to current events (if possible). This is a great way to utilize content that is otherwise sitting in a storeroom. https://www.facebook.com/eCorsair/

Create a reference book (both physical and digital) for the next Editor-in-Chief, with the newspaper email and passcode, ad brochures and contracts, How-To’s (i.e. screenshot tutorials on how to upload PDFs to the site), et cetera. This will help with a smooth transition. 

The Foxy Newshound

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Alethea Porter had APA style,
seeing everything from every angle
& always keeping herself above the fold.
A columnist who kept her books in neat rows,
she fought astroturfing,
fake news,
& yellow journalism.
She lived in an inverted pyramid
with a snazzy layout wallpapered in newsprint
in the Fixer-Upper Northwest Side of Chicago.
One headline,
one deadline,
& sometimes,
one punchline at a time,
she climbed the ladder of the urban jungle gym,
respecting those well-seasoned story scoopers on the back bench
& mentoring the eager cubs who followed her lede.
She didn’t do puff pieces or hit pieces,
but covered first-day hard news & seventh-day soft news;
she was an informant of the best kind.
Whether in Athens, Georgia,
Paris, Texas,
or Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,
she was a not-so-private investigative reporter,
her nondescript cover a trench coat & hat,
a la Carmen Sandiego.
She broke with the breaking news,
sometimes breaking down,
never forgetting that her subjects were real people
whose unfortunate series of life events provided the material
she mined to make her career—
that they weren’t just characters in a story,
but they were the story.

On Journalism: My College Writing Experience

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“The Bluffer” staff (Poplar Bluff High’s high school newspaper). My dad is the one with the glasses in the back of the room.

There’ve been times I’ve wondered if I’d gotten on the newspaper staff in high school (rather than the yearbook) if I would’ve decided to major in journalism (rather than the culinary arts, which was a colossal waste of time). I don’t even remember seeing our high school newspaper around, except once (for fifty cents or a quarter), and I thought, We have a newspaper?

Even though there was a permanence about the yearbook (encased in hardcover, like a coffee-table book), the staff meetings were just another class to me. What’s more, I don’t even have any of my old yearbooks. I’m a nostalgic, sentimental kind of girl, but not for my high school days.

Maybe it was because I was shy and didn’t have any school spirit (I always begged my dad to check me out of the pep rallies, because why should I cheer for a bunch of misogynistic athletes?). Though I was involved in the Art Club and “The M.O.B.” (Ministry of Believers), I often found myself feeling like I was stuck in hell for seven hours a day.

I remember writing stories for the yearbook, but I don’t remember what any of them were about. Because my creativity wasn’t nurtured or appreciated, I thought any writing career other than being a poet or novelist wasn’t for me.

My dad was the sports editor of the Poplar Bluff high school newspaper staff (see above photo) from the fall of 1968 to the spring of 1969. I asked him what it was like back then. He remembered the girls far outnumbered the boys, and that one of the girls was what they called a “morgue editor,” meaning she cut out articles and pasted them into a book. Then, for the Christmas issue, the whole paper was printed in red

Being the family historian, I record not only my memories, but the memories of others. I love to document, and newspaper article writing does just that. Through writing features, I record other people’s experiences, but in writing a humor column, I’d be documenting my own in a way that would resonate, or connect, with people.

A couple of days ago, I texted the Editor-in-Chief on The Corsair (our college newspaper) that the only way I’d ever become a journalist would be as a humor columnist, reason being that I’d never get accused of disseminating fake news. (Advice columnist would be second best, and I wouldn’t go all “Judge Judy on people. That is one rage-filled lady.)

Through my run (so far) of being on the paper staff, I’ve found what I not only love to write the most, but what I’m good at, too. (Books by Dave Barry or Erma Bombeck are next on my library list.)

Ernest Hemingway and Margaret Mitchell started off writing for newspapers—maybe writing for one of them (a newspaper) one day is in my future. (I’m trying greeting cards, as well, even though most English professors think they’re %@#$.)

Though I don’t love interviewing people (people are like a box of chocolates—some are Roman nougat, and some are orange cream, which are slightly less horrendous as peanut butter kisses), I enjoy talking to them, and have learned a lot from doing so, whether it be other opportunities or good life advice. I wouldn’t have met many of the people I have if it hadn’t been for interviewing them for The Corsair.

Though I’m not majoring in journalism (and you don’t have to, to write for a newspaper), my journalism experience has helped me become a better writer, for all writing experience is valuable experience. I’ve learned, through analyzing my blog statistics, that my non-fiction posts far outpace my fiction ones, which is why I’m going to pursue the technical writing program at University before the creative writing one.

But what I’ve learned the most is that every time I think I have it all figured out, I learn something new that changes the trajectory of my life. I guess that’s what makes life interesting.

~

For more articles on what I’ve learned through my journalism experience:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tuning-up-volumehow-ive-fine-tuned-my-ear-editor-sarah-richards/?trackingId=OoPJ6YprK%2F93UtZ3XVQ3TQ%3D%3D

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/editing-my-way-through-collegeone-less-word-time-sarah-richards/?trackingId=1OTyfkzaGFdb%2FwMiSk95oQ%3D%3D

https://sarahleastories.com/2017/02/04/feature-story-ideas-for-a-college-newspaper/

https://sarahleastories.com/2017/10/27/journalism-101/

https://sarahleastories.com/2017/10/29/journalism-conference-notes-my-conclusion/