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Expand Your Horizons: Write for a Community Paper

Expand Your Horizons: Write for a Community Paper

Posted by on Aug 10, 2013 in Grab Bag, News | 4 comments

About two months ago, I started freelancing for the South Lake Daily Tablet. It’s a digital community paper covering a portion of the Florida county in which I live. Once I would have shied away from newspaper reporting; now I recommend that every writer try it at least once. You’ll be amazed at what you learn. At two years old, the South Lake Daily Tablet feels like a start-up gaining traction. Its online-only presence gives it great nimbleness and lower expenses. Right now it’s slowly growing its staff, which means that most reporters cover a little of everything. Weekly staff meetings with Michael and Patricia Corradino keep us on track. They’re the owners and publishers of the paper; as with any start-up, they work twelve hours and more a day. Honestly, some days they seem to show up everywhere. I have fifteen years of professional writing and editing experience, most of it spent online covering various technology-related topics. Michael Corradino’s background is specifically in news and journalism. I’ve learned a lot from him, and I expect to learn more. Let me tell you just some of the benefits I’ve enjoyed working outside of my normal niche. First, I’ve met lots of people. Just this last week I met librarians, retired and future fire fighters, a congressman, an interim police chief, a council woman, several business owners, and more. That’s a diverse group of people sure to spark one’s writing. If you want to write well, you can’t spend all of your time staring at your computer screen and drumming on your keyboard. Yes, you must write, but meeting and talking to people will give you something to write ABOUT. Second, I’ve been learning new skills. As a freelance reporter, I can’t just write a story; my publisher expects pictures as part of the package. When a photographer isn’t available, guess who gets to take the pictures? I’m grateful for digital photography; it allows me to take lots of pictures and hope that some of them come out usable. Slowly, I’ve been improving, and expect to learn more. I’ve also been learning AP style. Newspapers commonly use it, preferring it...

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Lizard Picture

Lizard Picture

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 in Grab Bag | 0 comments

Hi! Not too much to talk about today, so here’s a picture I took on my front porch. It’s a joyful discovery in a couple of ways: first, that sometimes you’re lucky enough to have the animals hold still for you; and second, that an old digital camera can still take a decent picture. Let me tell you the particulars. I spotted this pair on my porch as I was going out to exercise. Naturally, I didn’t have my camera with me, so I went back inside to get it — a Kodak EasyShare CX7330, if you care. That model, if I remember correctly, is at least seven years old. So I go back outside with the camera, turn it on — and get a red light. Not enough battery to take a picture, in other words. But the lizards are still there, so I go back inside to change the battery. This time I check before going back outside — and success! Green light on the camera. I go back outside, this time with a working camera, and the lizards are still there. I take a picture…and I’m not happy. The lizards are in shade, you see, and the flash didn’t go off. So as near as I can tell, the picture is too dark to show what I’m aiming for. Also, it’s a little distant. Well, I don’t want to get so close that I’m breathing on the lizards, so I adjust my zoom. I also adjust my flash. It has four settings; I used “Auto Fill.” Then I took the picture. Success! And a good thing, too; the flash startled the poor things, and they jumped and ran off. Oh well, at least I have something to remember them by. Ah, the joys of living in a rural part of Florida!      ...

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