Posts Tagged ‘dianna borsi obrien’

Like Kermit the Frog said about being green, being a journalist isn’t easy. That’s why the Society of Professional Journalists provides resources to help journalists in their pursuit of excellence.

Below is a link to the SPJ’s online journaliststoolbox.

The SPJ, founded in 1909, is dedicated to “the perpetuation of a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty,” according to its website.

For more information on the SPJ, see its website at http://www.spj.org/index.asp

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One of the core missions of journalism, I believe, is to explain why something is important.

This article does exactly that, in concrete and subtle ways. First, it outlines the expansion of the Centro Latino and the role of Eduardo Crespi.

Under Crespi’s direction, the Centro has been serving the growing Hispanic community of Columbia for 11 years. Now, he’s expanding its educational offerings in an effort to stem the tide of obesity in this population and the community as a whole.

The article outlines the obesity rates and the results of the problem. But it also highlights the results of one man’s efforts, multiplied through networking and community effort.

You can read the article at the link below:

June 10, 2011, Centro Latino: Relocating, Expanding Mission, Columbia Business Times. The 11-year-old Centro Latino, is moving to a new location and starting a new operation, Comedor Popular. Guided by Eduardo Crespi, the center, which provides assistance to Columbia’s growing Hispanic population, will now offer meals and education to stem the tide of obesity and related illnesses.

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As a journalist, I can become jaded. A story too good to be true often is just that.

But not in this case. When I first spoke to Freddy Spencer, it seemed hard to believe that despite being out of the office nearly more than he was in it during 2009, his fledgling real estate office increased sales and number of agents. He credited his positive attitude.

As a journalist, that seemed like a flimsy thing to peg his success on. But when I spoke to his agents, friends and family members, that’s what they kept talking about, along with his faith and support of them. I still checked with the corporate office, to check his numbers. I checked with other sources as well. That’s journalism, double checking and triple checking.

In addition, I spoke to many people, several of whom I didn’t quote in the article. I was looking for the “real” reason Spencer’s company thrived despite his absence. In the end, it seemed that a story too good to be true really was.

You can read all about it in this article about Freddy Spencer, his family and his business via the Columbia Business Times website.

Below is a blurb about the article and a link to it.

April 29, 2011, A Realtor’s Ordeal Birth becomes blessing, business gains perspective, Columbia Business Times. In the last couple of years, Freddy Spencer of Century 21 Advantage, has faced a trifecta of trauma: he launched his real estate office just as the housing market crashed, his mother died suddenly in 2008 and in 2009, his son was born with a rare heart defect. Despite these odds, his company thrived. Spencer — and his agents — credit his positive attitude, faith and his support of his agents.

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Back in 1987, my first editor Tommy Martin told me I didn’t have to know everything, I just had to have people willing to give me a call when something happened. The tip for this article didn’t come from someone calling me but through my connections within the community.

One of my hobbies in an interest in historic buildings, which you can see through another one of my websites, columbiahistoricplaces.com

But it’s through this connection that I learned Missouri Preservation was going to honor John and Vicki Ott’s company, Alley A Realty, for its redevelopment of the Berry Building. Once a warehouse for grocery items unloaded at the nearby railroad depot, now a bus station, the 1924 building was derelict when the Otts bought it. After a $3 million renovation, the building is now occupied by PS: Gallery, Wilson’s Fitness and 12 luxury loft apartments as well as other businesses.

This redevelopment was honored by Missouri Preservation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting historic preservation.

This is only the fourth Columbia building honored by Missouri Preservation, but it is the Otts’ 11th redevelopment project in downtown Columbia.

While journalists like me work to remain objective, it is also part of our job to stay connected.

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One of the jobs of the media is to provide a place where a community can have a conversation with itself.

That’s what this article is all about. Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher wants the community to discuss changing a law so voters can have an opportunity to tax themselves to pay for quality preschool for all children in Boone County.

He knows increasing taxes isn’t popular. He knows it will be a tough sell. But he also knows nothing will happen if people aren’t exposed to the idea so they can discuss the idea.

Belcher isn’t a fool. He provides a lot of dollar-and-cents reasons for going with quality preschool for children, including the fact that children who come to school unprepared are more likely to end up on the wrong side of the law later in life instead of becoming the workers and good citizens we’d like all children to grow up to be.

Learn more by reading this March 4, 2011 article in the Columbia Business Times.

 

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If you’re of a certain age, the idea of a basement conjures up images of dark, dank spider-filled spaces.

Looking at this Basement Transformation article published in the February/March issue of Columbia Home, you can get an entirely new view of a basement. The lower level of Gail and John Metz’s Columbia, Missouri, home was a once catchall, a jumble of the refuge of their busy lives. A complete renovation with the help of Kerry Bramon Remodeling & Design created a Colorado-lodge-like space complete with a kitchen, living room with a roaring fireplace and even his and hers offices. This article features photographs by Deanna Dikeman.

As a reporter, the challenge with this article was to write a paragraph to go with every picture. Sounds easy, right? But I’m used to writing an article that flows with transitions and explanations. To simply write a line or two to go with a photograph was a challenge, but an exciting one. Since I’m not just a writer, but a reader of magazines such as This Old House, I know how important those captions with pictures are. Take a look at the article and see whether you read the article or just the captions for the photographs.

Or do the different elements, the captions, photos and article give you what journalists call different entry points?

I hope so. Even more I hope you enjoy the article!

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At my first journalism job in 1987, one day my editor asked me if I was a writer or a reporter. I wasn’t sure what she meant by the question but I answered writer. She said good, that meant I’d always be looking for the right word and a way to make my writing better.

She was right, but today, I think I might answer reporter because I have come to think we need more facts, figures and accuracy than pretty writing. Yet, I still go back and forth. It doesn’t matter how important the facts are if no one reads them.

On that note, the Writer magazine, offers tips on how to write as well as how to research. And just as important, how to sell your work. It also helps writers keep up with the times, with articles on issues such as copy right, social media and provides an excellent, resource-filled website.

So what do you think? Is it more important to be a writer or a reporter?

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