4 Responses

  1. Jeanne at |

    How has the democratization of technology affected your job as a news reporter? i.e since anything can be just as easily shared as “news” are there any new things you’ve had to do because of it?

    What’s your favorite thing to cover when writing?

    Reply
  2. Margaret at |

    Hi Jeanne,
    Thank you for that interesting and insightful question.
    I remember when “citizen journalists” really began to come on the scene. I thought it was a good thing, because at that time, you basically had to own a printing press or a radio/TV station to report news. The media had become a very strict gatekeeper over what was covered, and was over-represented by older, white men in positions of authority who decided what was going to be covered. If it didn’t fit their idea of news, then it wouldn’t make it into the paper or onto the air. I saw a lot of that gatekeeping and found it very unbalanced with the emerging reality of a more diverse population wanting to see news about their interests and lives.
    It cracked open the whole gatekeeping thing, and amazingly, the people at the top really didn’t see it coming because they led a very insulated life.
    For that reason, I think it’s a good thing – there are lots of eyes and ears out there, and I don’t believe that does harm, I believe it is good. Reporters can follow as much of it as possible, obviously not all of it. Mostly, I still do my job the way I did — I look for the news that’s relevant to my audience, and these other contributions from citizens are just now part of the cultural milieu, the background, of things that are known. Just like scientists contribute journal articles and white papers, and think tanks contribute analysis, etc.

    As to what I like to cover: Strangely, I just find that once I start reporting a story, practically any topic, I just end up loving whatever it is. It can all be so interesting. I loved covering oil and going to refineries and hearing about how they work, and the global context for pricing, and the international political ins and outs that impact capacity. Then here in Hays now I’ll go to a bingo event and interview people where bingo is their life and hear the history of it in the town and how it’s changed, and I get totally psyched about that.
    I compare it to someone who likes to sew — just give me some fabric, any fabric, and let me get at it, putting together stories and images. I will admit, covering the local fight about whether to mask or not is getting a little old! 🙂
    Marg

    Reply
  3. Jace Armstrong at |

    Hi Margaret,

    I enjoyed getting to know more about journalism from your perspective. I can tell this is something that you are very passionate about, and I think that is really cool! My first question for you is, how long have you been working in the Hays area for? Secondly, if you have worked in different places, which is/was your favorite? Finally, if there was a certain destination that was your ideal location, where would that be and why?

    Reply
  4. Margaret at |

    Hi Jace, Thanks for your comment.

    I’ve been in Hays a couple years, but I grew up around here so this was coming home for me. I’m enjoying writing about the people and places I grew up around, and I read The Hays Daily News growing up as a child and always wanted to work here, lol. So here I am finally.

    My favorite place in terms of challenging/amazing experiences would have to be Venezuela. Caracas is an international city, a combo of Washington DC, New York City, and Los Angeles. It’s an international center for government, politics, finance and business, so I got to cover all kinds of macro-economic issues from OPEC (they are an OPEC nation) to oil, to mining, to industrial plants, to banking and financial crisis, to military coups, to third world debt, to developing nations. It was a huge growth experience.

    Working in a foreign language was a BIG stretch for me, and sometimes my brain would just hurt. But it was worth every minute of it, and I learned so much.

    Then there’s culture shock, which is very real. There’s nothing like living in another country to realize how different people from around the world are. Different values, different everything. That’s worth knowing and understanding as a journalist.

    For certain, one has to weigh the risk versus the reward when it comes to living in another country, particulary a “third-world” country. There are not the laws, security, protection, judicial practices, medical care, that we have here in the U.S. It can spiral out of hand quickly, and once it does, it’s too late to back up. While in Venezuela I and my colleagues were mugged frequently, held up by armed robbers, and confronted with dangerous situations, including a military coups right across from our apartment building. Working abroad is not a decision to take lightly.

    For me, the best “place” to work is a newsroom that is committed to quality journalism, and people are competitive, but also team players, so you spur each other on, help each other, and share the energy and excitement of cranking out a quality news product on deadline. That’s the best “place.”

    Reply

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