Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Katharina Hoffman of Hoffman Commercial Landscaping and other women in the landscaping business are finding new, burgeoning business opportunities with the help of the Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certificate. It’s a lot of paperwork, but Hoffman says she’s found it is also the ticket to a different kind of landscaping work, work for cities, counties and other governmental agencies.

This Landscape Management article outlines what a WBE is, how to get it and how it can help a woman-owned business thrive.

Here’s a link to the article, I want my WBE.


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Every day, real estate apps such as Zillow, Trulia and grow in popularity. So are these new tools replacing real estate agents? Turns out they’re not and instead are making the home buying process even better for both buyers and agents.

In this article, Agent App, I outline what apps every agent — and buyer — should have on their smart phone or laptop when they enter the market.


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As a freelance writer, I love writing about historic homes and even more, I love making new discoveries. Combine the two and you’ve got this article about the historic home at 121 West Boulevard in Columbia, Missouri.

For years, newspaper and magazine articles have proclaimed this house was built by Arch McHarg from oaks on the lot. And each update of changes in ownership repeated that information. But when I started to do the research, I found that information couldn’t actually be proved. I researched the records for the property and found that Arch and his wife Blanche didn’t own the house or the lot until 1935, long after the log cabin had been built in 1911, making the possibility that Arch had brandished an ax to build the log cabin unlikely. However, the records indicate the McHargs were responsible for transforming the humble log cabin into the present stone and wood siding cottage.

I also learned that while Herb and Betty Brown owned the house for decades, prior to their ownership, a fellow journalist lived there, Nadine Coleman, and she’s the origins of the gardens the Browns kept so immaculate and fresh.

Interested in reading more? Click on this link: The Hansel and Gretel House, often called the fairy-tale cottage or the Gingerbread house is surrounded by gardens, making it a cozy sight. But inside the house is a log cabin, making it a touch stone to Columbia’s pioneer past. This article was published in Missouri Life magazine.

Have you written any articles that disproved any often repeated facts? Are there any historic homes that you know harbor hidden history? I’d love to hear your take on updating history.



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One of my favorite kinds of business articles to write is the how-to piece. Here’s one I did recently for Landscape Management.

The Ins and Outs of Houzz — Firms in the green industry are finding ways to use Houzz, an up and coming online platform that links homeowners and professionals. Founded in 2009, in 2013, it boasted 12 million unique viewers, 89 percent of whom are homeowners with an average home value of $450,000. This Landscape Management article outlines how to Houzz.

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Credit unions, little known, not-for-profit financial institutes, are taking on the banks, pushing against a limit on the value of commercial loans they can make. This article led me to learn about this unusual financial organization and gave me the opportunity to exercise objective journalism, letting each side have their say. The article was published in the Columbia Business Times.

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Hi! Looking for a top-notch writer who delivers fresh, accurate copy with lots of interesting details? You’ve found her. I’m a professional freelance writer and I’ve written about a wide range of topics, including credit unionscity-wide conventions and how to prevent your employees from dipping into the till.

I’m a former newspaper reporter, so I hit my deadlines, fact check and do it quickly and professionally. Best of all, I love what I do and bring that enthusiasm to each and every story I tackle.

Here’s what Columbia Business Times Managing Editor Sarah Redohl said about me:

“When I assign something to Dianna I know it will get done on time, and there won’t be extensive edits or fact-checks that don’t fare well. Furthermore, she will not cower in the face of a challenging story. Instead she does whatever is needed to get the story done and frequently digs up additional dirt in the process.”

I’m no diva – whew! I am just a writer who loves what I do and I do it well. If you are looking for someone who can write clean, clear, interesting articles and blog posts, give me a call or email me at

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Smart Meetings magazine focuses on how to do meetings well. Here’s an article I just did for Smart Meetings that focuses on tips for how to plan a city-wide event.

The Ins and Outs of City-Wides.

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Vanishing Act: No company is immune to the occasional sideways employee, siphoning corporate funds. But stories of some of Boone County’s most successful embezzlement schemes shed some light on the situation.

This article includes a look at why employees do it and how employers are caught off guard. A tips box provides law-enforcement guides on how to stay safe and a list of the top 10 Boone County embezzlers show the breadth of the problem.


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It’s been 10 years since Nene Rwenyaguza last saw his wife and children, but he’s not complaining. He’d thought they’d died after they fled their Congolese village, but three years ago, he learned they were alive. He’s been waiting for them to arrive in Columbia, Missouri, ever since.

Now, that day is almost here and to help him prepare for their arrival, hundreds of Columbians have given him everything he needs — from furniture to a computer — for his family of four children, including one child his wife adopted before she’d learned Rwenyaguza was alive.

Read the story here: “A Community Comes Together.”

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One of the things Jim Fisher, a writing teacher at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, taught me is to arrive at an interview at least five minutes early. The person being interviewed is probably nervous and there’s no need to make him or her more nervous by arriving just on time or late.

And so I do make sure I’m there early. But sometimes there’s no way to make someone trust me as a journalist. They may have been burned or misquoted and despite my assurances that I accuracy check all my articles, i.e. let a source review for accuracy the entire article before submitting to my editor, some people still are nervous.

That was the case with Travis Huff of Pure Audio when I interviewed him for this article, Creating sounds of something great, published in the Columbia Business Times on August 19, 2011, reprinted from Columbia Home’s August/September 2011 issue.

After the initial interview and then a change in focus from the editor, Travis asked if I could interview him by email. No problem, I thought, except for follow-up questions. Journalists know that the follow-up question can be the most important one of an interview. There’s no way to know everything we need to know before we arrive, so when a source says something interesting, it is crucial to follow up with a question.

What followed were several days of emails. But then I learned another downside of email interviews. Travis’s answers were great. But they were very formal. We all write in a more formal tone than we talk.

So how to bring a business story to life? Ask the people who are affected — Pure Audio’s customers.

The result is an article that highlights what Pure Audio really does. Sure, Huff explained that the company installs digital sound and video systems for homes and offices. But John Schuppan and others explained what Pure Audio really does — help people enjoy the digital sound and video systems in their homes.

Now that’s something worth writing about.

Here’s a summary of the article:

August 19, 2011, Creating sounds of something great, Columbia Business Times. Columbia firm Pure Audio & Video Specialty installs digital media systems in new and older homes, simplifying the music/video system. Yes, you can have just one remote for the whole house, and no the television does not have to be the focus of a room. A reprint from Columbia Home, August/September 2011 issue.

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