Wednesday, March 20, 2013

10 years as a journalist

March 31 will mark my 10th anniversary of working for the Daily Citizen. It was supposed to be a temporary job, but the privilege of sharing people's stories and the flexibility in the work hours that allows me to do things like volunteer at a library and help coach middle school track have kept me here. 
Please keep sending me story ideas. 

Here's the column I wrote, introducing myself to readers.

New editor introduces herself
Neighbors came out in a new format last week, and with all the changes, you may have missed a change in the staff.
I'm the new Associate Editor for the Randolph/Cambria/Friesland office, replacing Paul Scharf who has transferred to the Columbus Journal.
I live in Beaver Dam, where my son is a first grader at Prairie View Elementary. When I'm not working, I enjoy reading, taking bike rides with my son, surfing the internet for spoilers to my favorite TV shows, and cooking.
I was born in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and spent my childhood living in small communities in the U.P. before my family moved to a western Colorado town in the early 80s. I learned to ski in the Rocky Mountains, and confess that the “mountains” in the Midwest would amuse me if it weren’t for the puddles that pass for lakes back in Colorado.
My family moved back to Ironwood, Michigan in 1991. After graduating from the same high school my parents and grandparents graduated from, I attended a local community college, and then transferred to Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan. I moved to Wisconsin in 1997.
Writing is not a new profession for me, though I am new to journalism. My previous jobs include working as a technical writer for Alliance Laundry Systems in Ripon and John Deere in Horicon. People often ask what a technical writer does. The simplest explanation is to pull out the owner's manual in a car, the programming guide for a VCR or the operating instructions for a tractor. A technical writer wrote those. Please don't blame me if you can't program your VCRs, as I still have trouble with mine.
I'm not the only member of my family to relocate to southern Wisconsin. My parents reside in Pardeeville, my sister lives in Madison, and one of my cousins is a senior at Beaver Dam High School.
I still visit family and friends in Upper Michigan, and if you run into me after I've spent a weekend up north, listen for my Yooper accent, which is similar to the Canadian accents heard in the great comedy classic "Strange Brew". For those unfamiliar with the term, "Yooper", it's the name given to natives of the U.P. If you know anyone from Lower Michigan, be sure to call them a troll, as they live below the bridge.
Having survived many a U.P. winter, the recent snap of snow and cold weather didn't faze me much. To learn more about the area, I've been flipping through back issues of the paper and found out there was a foot of snow on the ground at this time in 1973. A long weekend of cold and slush doesn't seem so bad. I hope this weekend's weather is more spring-like, as so many communities have Easter egg hunts scheduled.
I'm really looking forward to getting to know people in the community. Since I'm still relatively new to the area, I welcome ideas for stories.