June 22 – Paper

Today’s writing prompt is Paper. An interesting choice for the first full day of summer.  I don’t know about you, but I love to read paperback books in the summer. There is nothing better than a well-worn book that you can read at the beach or pool. I normally buy these at a used bookstore and then can fold them if needed. However, I prefer bookmarks to mark each time I stop reading.

My photo includes a paperback book that I enjoyed reading, as well as a picture that I colored. It was in a book of lighthouses. There are a few more drawings to color. I will have to see where that book is. Not sure why the eye shadow is there except that this photo may have been originally posted as another subject.

This year we won’t be reading any books at the beach. I hope we can go to the beach next year, but will have to wait and see. However, there will be time to swim at the pool and that should be fun. We will just be sure to have plenty of sunscreen, cold drinks, a great book, and an umbrella.

Call me old school, but I like actual books and newspapers to read.  I like to hold that paper in my hand, see the pages printed, and get the ink on my fingers from the papers as I make my way through the sections. I haven’t been able to go electronic yet. Maybe one day.

My first professional job was at a newspaper after college. I loved it but the pay was terrible. Still, I learned so much from the founder of the paper, the publisher, and the editor, as well as all of the interesting people I met along the way. It was a great place to learn the business and develop my skills.

Everyone at the newspaper did a variety of tasks since it was such a small staff. For example, our publisher helped with layout of the paper. This was done with actual paper with Exacto knives and blue pens. It was a while ago. Now, layout is on a computer. So much has changed since I worked at this paper in the early 1990s.

Having the publisher do this helped me learn that a great boss will get in the trenches with his staff and do what is needed to have everyone succeed and meet deadlines. He never acted like he was better than any of us and that made a great impression on this then young and naive reporter.  He was very supportive of me and the rest of the employees and wanted the best for us.

I wrote a variety of stories for the paper, each with a slightly different format. I wrote news articles of accidents, county commission meetings, school board meetings, arrests, covered courtroom cases, and other subjects. I also wrote features and was able to interview and write about all of the new commissioners.

I learned to love and truly appreciate the first amendment through this job. I continue to fight for it and support journalists. They are not perfect by any means, but in my opinion, must be able to do their jobs, ask the hard questions, and report on what is going on.

Recently there has been an attack on the media and this has me baffled and upset.  Granted, much of today’s news is very biased and one-sided. That is frustrating and so very different than what I learned in journalism school.  But, I wouldn’t trade it for a state-run media and the government telling reporters what they can say and print.

Many places in the world have this control. A few amazing things about our country are the 1st Amendment and the three branches of government.  In America, freedom of speech and freedom of religion are protected. The hard thing about it is giving equal time to someone we strongly disagree with.

My hope is that we can learn from those we agree with as well as those we don’t. And that we can listen to each other and try to find out where we are all are coming from.  If we don’t do that, we may never find a way to bridge the gap that seems to keep growing wider and wider.

I wonder what the next book or article is that I will read?  I am not sure but am so looking forward to it. Take care and happy summer!

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April 11 – Newspaper

newspaper.4-11-16Hi and Happy Monday.  Today’s writing prompt is Newspaper. I have loved newspapers for as long as I can remember so this is an easy topic to write about. I still like to read news from an actual paper, not online. I suppose I am still old school in that way.

I like the crinkle of the pages, getting ink on my fingers, and passing sections back and forth. I often skim a few sections and then go back and re-read the items that interest me.

When I was in high school, I wrote a teen column for the city newspaper.  It was a great learning experience for me and lots of fun. My love of writing and journalism grew then. While in college, I was the editor of our student newspaper and enjoyed that as well. My staff and I started a few columns and items of interest. Although it was a lot of work, we had a great time. Each issue was a major accomplishment to finish.

Then, after graduating, I had my first professional job at a newspaper. It was a small town paper started during the Great Depression. It was published once a week and later upped to two issues per week. A lot of people in town didn’t think we had enough news to fill two papers. That struck me as funny and charming.  And, we always managed to fill each issue and have plenty of advertising.

It was the best place for me to learn. I had an amazing beat and met fascinating people. I loved working there, learned about verifying facts, and listened to judges explaining things off the record. Both the newspaper publisher and editor took me under their wings and helped me soar. I can never thank either of them enough for guiding me on my journey.

I lived and breathed the freedom of the press for several years, made amazing contacts, wrote news articles without bias (as much as possible), conducted interviews with the new slate of county commissioners, and went to meetings regarding building a new county jail. I was so very fortunate to learn so much.

People in the community enjoyed talking to me since I was fair and accurate. That meant the world to me. I was a reporter and wrote articles about meetings, trials, and feature pieces. It was the era of clear lines between news and editorial/opinion pieces. These days are long gone but I am glad I learned when this was still the case.

The only problem was the salary was barely enough to live on. I later went on to work as a technical writer and finally in a public relations office. I was fortunate to work for almost 20 years in my field of writing. I know how rare that is and am thankful each day.

When I travel, I always buy a newspaper or two.  I love to find out the uniqueness of each community and its people.  It is a great way to learn about different parts of the country or other countries. My parents traveled recently to Paris and Monaco. They brought back papers from both places for me. Although I cannot read them, I can get the gist of what is being reporting.

A few quotes about newspapers:

  • “A newspaper is not just for reporting the news as it is, but to make people mad enough to do something about it.”– Mark Twain
  • “And so it is to the printing press–to the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news–that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.”– John F. Kennedy
  • “If you don’t hit a newspaper reader between the eyes with your first sentence, there is no need of writing a second one. ”  — Arthur Brisbane

I wonder if I will write again for a newspaper? I would truly enjoying doing so and will have to look into just that.

A few notes: I will try to write more regularly in the coming months. The last few have been extremely busy for me. Hopefully things will soon calm down.  Also, the image is clip art from Power Point. Take care and God Bless!