Category Archives: Journalism

I’ve Become a Sissy

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Tonight seemed like any other night, minus the fact that I had the urge to get out of my apartment and take part in some physical exercise.

I started my run towards the neighborhood behind my complex when my sister called in, which then became my excuse to stop running and just chat away to catch up on life.

I had done my loop and finished sharing with my sister the dream I had about attending Kanye West’s birthday party with my parents when a sweet couple walks up to me and asks for help.

“We don’t know what to do, he isn’t well,” they said as I pulled out my headphone and looked at the black vehicle that seemed parked on the side of the road.

They took me to the drivers side and there sat a man slumped over in a position that no one in a heathy state would be in. That’s when my heart began racing and all I could think was, “This man is dead!?”

I worked in newspaper for six years doing the crime beat so this isn’t the first dead body I’ve seen. But for some reason this was the first time pure panic crept over me.

I couldn’t touch him, all I could do was yell at the rolled down driver’s window, “Sir! Sir!”

I asked the kind man who pulled me aside if the man felt cold to the touch. He said yes. Then I asked if he had felt for a pulse and his face contorted a little when he said no he hadn’t done that but he had already called 9-1-1.

Obviously, touching his neck to feel for a pulse wouldn’t save his life, but it would have brought clarity. But try as I might I couldn’t bring myself to do anything beyond yelling sir and asking if I should call 9-1-1 again.

While we were waiting another neighbor came up and asked about what was happening. We then asked if he would like to feel for a pulse and unlike us sissys this man went for it – but the man in the car’s body was too contorted to get to a pulse without moving his body.

That’s when the man in the car moved a little. I don’t know if it can be described as a jerk – but it was more than just his body falling further down. He was alive!

That’s when the other man helping noticed the car, which was running, was also in drive. Somehow the man passed out in his car with his foot wedged on the break – by the grace of God alone.

“We need to put this in park,” the man said.

I felt my pulse quicken as I realized the four of us were about to device a plan to reach into the car to make sure it didn’t suddenly start rolling away adding more to the already scary situation.

But just when I thought some action was about to be taken the beautiful sound of sirens began coming closer and closer.

Shout out to the Orange County Fire Department for the quickest response time. They immediately pulled in and rushed to turn off the car and get the man out. Loaded him on the stretcher and began making efforts to get him back to.

Unfortunately, I won’t know the end of the man’s story. He had a weak pulse and was whisked away to the nearest emergency room. The kind couple can rest assured that if he lives, they are responsible.

I, however, walked the rest of the way home realizing that the hardened journalist who was quick to jump in the car at the sound of possible death is now a big sissy. I couldn’t even touch the guy!

Geesh. What have I become.

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Still Here, Still Uncertain

Hey, that's me in my cube!

Hey, that’s me in my cube!

It’s been a while, I know. Life has been chaotic, busy and above all else amazing. I still have days where I’ll see a snippet of news from the paper and wonder what was going on, how everything was being handled and have a rush of jealousy that I won’t get to be a part of that anymore.

I miss that.

But now I’m working in a whole new capacity. Hello, I’m Angel and I am the Social Media Community Manager for a large, Christian non-profit organization.

This is my team - web and social media. They're pretty great and always ready to greet the interns in interesting ways.

This is my team – web and social media. They’re pretty great and always ready to greet the interns in interesting ways.

I knew that this job was going to have challenges because my background is newspaper, not social media and there have been some trials.

Each month my department meets for worship, devotions and in this photo to introduce the newbies!

Each month my department meets for worship, devotions and in this photo to introduce the newbies!

All-in-all, God has put such a blessing on my life with this job, this new location in central Florida and the new friends I have made since moving.

Taking a chance like this, especially being somewhat older than the average person changing careers, was not an easy one. But God was faithful, as He promised He would be.

I’ve found that doing social media full time allows for creativity, taking chances and involves a lot of trial and error. I’ll be honest, there are days when I wonder why I was hired – but to be fair I thought the same thoughts while working at the newspaper.

I’m happy. I’m content. I’m not broke.

I know I made the right decision, but a piece of my heart still aches for the familiar background noise of the scanner. The feel of writing something and knowing it will be read by thousands and the amazing stories I would come home with each day.

But I’m finding a home here. I’m finding where I belong and I’m finding comfort in this career with the knowledge that I serve a far greater purpose.

It’s still a transition, almost three months later, but I have a feeling that’s how life goes. I’m always transitioning whether its with a career, a boy, a diet plan, a new makeup trick, a knew way of thinking.

That’s just how life goes and I’m here for the adventure of it all.

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So Long Daily News, and Thanks for All the Fish

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There is no way to put into words what the last five years have been like for me. I came into this newspaper as a young reporter with no clue what she was doing and am coming out a different person.

On March 12, I will be leaving the Daily News’ doors for the last time and will start on a new adventure and out of the news business.

I leave with nothing but respect and love for the newspaper. I hope the community understands what a true gift they have with the Daily News, and I don’t mean the newspaper they get each morning.

Sitting in the building at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Eglin Parkway are some of the finest people I’ve ever met. They have mentored me, fought for me, loved me. They have become a family to me.

To each person at the Daily News, thank you.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your world. Thank you for guiding me when I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, which probably can still be said even today. Thank you for inspiring me every day to fight for what I wanted and fight for the readers.

I can’t begin to say how much I will miss you all and our amazing adventures.

In two weeks I will be starting a career outside of everything I’ve known for the past six years. The only career I’ve had, honestly.

To say I will miss it is an understatement.

To all the Daily News readers, thank you for letting me into your homes, in your scrapbooks, on your walls and, for some, into your hearts.

I’ve loved every minute of it.

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What is “free” news?

Recently, the Washington Post published a Rachel Maddow column that caught the attention of all of my co-workers, and I’m sure other journalists out there who are continuing to fight the good fight.

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Every day I see people upset about online paywalls and subscription costs citing that news should be free.

Why? Why should you get to read my hard work, my days labor for free while I make just above minimum wage? Why are you OK with paying for cable but not your local newspaper? Why is it OK to pay a toll, give tax on food or spend money on phone apps that make you look fatter than you actually are?

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It’s exhausting to be in this position today. I want my two degrees I worked hard for to pay back, when in reality McDonald’s workers make just $3 less than me. I won’t continue to complain, but please take a minute to read this excerpt:

Most of the time, national news happens out loud: at news conferences, on the floor of Congress, in splashy indictments or court rulings. But sometimes, the most important news starts somewhere more interesting, and it has to be dug up. Our democracy depends on local journalism, whether it’s a beat reporter slogging through yet another underattended local commission meeting, or a state political reporter with enough of an ear to the ground to know where the governor might be when he isn’t where he says he is, or a traffic columnist who’s nobody’s fool.

It’s annoying to pay for information — I know. But if you don’t subscribe to your local paper or pony up to get behind its online paywall, who’s going to pay reporters to cover the news where you live? A free press isn’t that kind of “free.” An accountable democracy doesn’t work without real information, gathered from the ground up, about people in power, everywhere. Be inspired by the beleaguered but unintimidated reporters of Chris Christie’s New Jersey: Whatever your partisan affiliation, or lack thereof, subscribe to your local paper today. It’s an act of civic virtue.

Lofty Goals for a Lofty Life

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A little while ago I started to write a list of “lofty goals” that entailed building a shelf for my pulitzer prize, having a pre-written obituary (because only very important people have obituaries written before they are dead), sell a perfume named after me, be stopped anytime I’m in public for my autograph (so annoying, but it’s for the fans).

Today in the grocery store as I hid my head in my ball cap from people I knew from high school I realized my goals may need to change direction.

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I think the goals are looking more like finding a job, living without the parental roommates, being in a place where I’m not embarrassed to run into someone from the past because life is good.

Life’s not terrible now, I know that. I have a roof, I have food, I have employment. But I’ve always wanted more and right now more just doesn’t seem to be coming.

I want to not hide my head under my cap, which was also hiding greasy hair and a no-makeup face.

Now, how to get there and achieve my lofty goals? Angel by Angel perfume hitting stores soon!

The Time Has Come

“The time has come the,” the Walrus said,

“To talk of many things;

Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax

Of cabbages and kings

And why the sea is boiling hot

And whether pigs have wings.”

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Recognize this from a little book about our favorite curious blonde Alice (Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There)? My sister and I in our weirdness love to recite this anytime we’re ready to go or wanting to sound more intelligent than we actually are (notice I didn’t say it actually works for us.)

I graduated in mid-December and the hunt for jobs has begun. I’m still interviewing, still looking but the reality that my time at the newspaper is winding down is beginning to sink in.

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I have loved, hated, loathed and feared this place in my nearly five years working here.

I’ve become a better writer and reporter at the Daily News. I’ve made some close friends here, established mentors here and found my voice here. I became a journalist here.

It was sink or swim from the beginning. But in time it happened. I figured it out.

Newbie journalists out there, it will happen for you too. It’s not an industry you’re just awesome at, but its an industry where you have to work hard, make mistakes and learn from them, hopefully.

I cry a little when I think about leaving this place. It’s been hard these last few years because of pay challenges, corporate strongholds and the decline in newspaper sales, but I will miss all this.

I’ll miss the chase of the story, the camaraderie I have with my co-workers and the satisfaction of reading emails and letters from locals who enjoyed the stories I wrote.

But, as the Walrus said, the time has come.

A new challenge awaits. My employers here have been so encouraging through earning my degree and now my seeking employment in that field. I cannot possibly find a way to thank them for everything they’ve done for me.

Instead, I’ll just work as hard as I can and when the time comes that I can mentor someone and be there for them in their career I can only hope I will give as much as I’ve received.

How I Write

Personally, I don’t find the process of writing a news story all that interesting. I believe this is primarily because it’s what I do – literally, all the time. But whenever I tell someone what I do for a living they seem fascinated by the craft. So I thought I’d share how I write.

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This story was written about a local author who published a book that took place in one of the towns my newspaper covers. Typically, when I write, I like to get my lede done first.

Fun fact: A “lede” is newspaper speak for the first sentence of the story. The lede is supposed to intrigue the reader and force them to read the second sentence, which is called the “nut graf.” A nut graf is your informational sentence that leads to the rest of the story.

This particular story, though, was not inspiring. In fact, I hated it. Because of this and so many other reasons, there was a slight struggle in my writing process.

Enjoy the show:

The Taylor family was struggling to survive when they decided to risk it all and make the move from Connecticut to Niceville. Once they arrived, the adventures that ensued gripped and tore at the heart strings.

This is lame and I don’t know how to start it.

Help me.

I’m drowning.

OK, here I go.

… um, nothing’s coming … OK, here I go.

Jonathan Gunger spent five years writing about the highs and lows of family life and says that time was well spent as his book “34/4” hits area book stores.

Eh, this isn’t that good either.

Writing a lede is hard. I think I’m going to quit instead of try and write this.

OK, attempt No. 2

In a time when many say the family dynamic is filled with quick answers that cost a lot, Jonathan Gunger is hoping to inspire others on the importance of working through the hard times in his novel based in Niceville.

That sucks.

It sucks really bad.

Dang it.