Newsroom memories

When I worked the Saturday "late cops" shift at the daily newspaper in Syracuse, NY, editors liked to say they had space on the coveted Sunday front page -- just in case.
Just in case something really bad happened.
A triple fatal. A house fire. Shots fired that hit their mark.
Sometimes that's what we ended up with. A long night for me, a bad night for someone else.
I liked it better when I got on A-1 and no one had to die. 
A quiet night meant I was able to work on more in-depth stuff -- a news story or feature that wasn't just the latest tragedy to be forgotten when the next one came along. 
My priorities haven't changed.
I thrive on telling stories that take some time. Stories that make me lie awake at night, thinking of questions I should have asked.
Questions I can go back and ask tomorrow. 


The tattered parachute
 
Count me among those who took a buyout from the sputtering world of daily newspapers. Change was coming at a frightening pace. My employer hit the brakes hard, closing bureaus, cutting back on expenses and beginning the inevitable shift to digital first. 
 
I saw what lay ahead. So in 2007 I leaped, tattered parachute and all, into the uncertain waters of non-profits, freelancing and a position at a medical university.
    

Everybody has a story.
Here's mine.
 

 ​​​​The 30-second elevator speech

More than 20 years as a reporter for a daily in Syracuse, N.Y., circulation 100,000-plus in its heyday . . . Worked a variety of beats, wrote a lot of stories -- sports, crime, municipal government, spot news, features, the literary scene, business, etc.
 
Other careers, highlights: worked as an advocate for people with disabilities; taught high school English and coached cross-country; wrote freelance articles; had a short story published by a magazine that soon folded; won a few writing awards (The Ohio State University, Syracuse Press Club, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University); ran a dozen marathons; sold books; bused tables, tended bar. Pumped gas.