Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Looking for a fast, fresh, well-written website?

Using the WordPress.com platform, I create websites with blog capabilities. I make it easy for any person or firm to have a bright, lively website presence without a lot of work — or expense.

Examples of my work includes this website, DiannaOBrien.com, SteveWeinbergAuthor.com and HockmanInteriorDesign.com

Here’s what Sherry Hockman of Hockman Interior Design said about my work:

“I really enjoyed working with Dianna on the development and re-launch of my website and blog for my interior design company. Before we started, my blog was basically dead in the water. Dianna helped me revitalize the website and created a site that people return to again and again. In addition to redesigning the website, she developed and wrote weekly blog posts and in three months, the number of visitors to the website doubled and as a result, I have several new clients. Dianna was professional but also personable, and made the entire process fun. Working with Dianna was a good investment, one which I’m sure will continue to pay off by new clients finding my new, helpful online presence.”

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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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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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What I love about journalism is the learning never ends. Here’s an article from one of my favorite resources, the Poynter Institute, an organization dedicated to teaching journalism.

This article is on investigative journalism and cites another of my favorite organizations, IRE, which is located at the University of Missouri in my hometown, Columbia, Missouri.

The article notes that while there have been cutbacks in journalistic organizations, investigative journalism has continued to thrive.

In fact, it’s my opinion that all journalism should be considered investigative. No article should rely just on whatever the sources says. And today, with the internet, social media and other tools of the trade, there’s no need for reporters like me to rely simply on the word of a source. For example, when I interviewed Russ Potterfield and asked him if he was concerned about the possibility of his products being produced in inhumane conditions, he said since there was a labor shortage, he believed that anyone unhappy with working conditions could simply leave their job. Years ago, I would have had to take his word for it or had to attempt to find an expert in Chinese labor trends. Today, I could review several international publications documenting the lack of skilled workers in China.

That is not strictly investigative journalism, but it does show that today journalists can do their jobs better than ever. And that’s good news for journalism and people who want to stay informed.

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This website, diannaobrien.com, highlights examples of my work as a reporter.

charleswgehrke.com focuses on the book I wrote with Charles W. Gehrke, one of the founders of ABC Labs. Founded in 1968, today, the company is one of Columbia’s largest employers and one of the anchor tenants in the newest research park, Discovery Ridge.

columbiahistoricplaces.com highlights information on historic places in Columbia and Boone County, Missouri. The website includes information on buildings and places named to Columbia’s Most Notable Properties List as well as those on the National Register of Historic Places.

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One of the things I love about journalism is how it helps me and readers see new connections by bringing information together, in this case, the history and economics of movie theatres.

I’ve lived in Columbia twice, once from 1991-1995, then from 1998 until now, but I never realized that the beautiful theatre buildings on Ninth Street revealed literally the concrete results of the roaring 1920s.

During the 1920s, thousands of movie theaters were built across the country. Actually, these buildings were called movie palaces because that’s what they were — ornate, beautiful, fanciful buildings where people went to see the developing medium, moving picture shows.

But what goes up must come down, which explains why by the time I moved to Columbia, the former Hall Theatre was vacant, the Missouri Theatre was struggling and the former Varsity Theatre had not yet become the successful live music venue, The Blue Note.

After the roaring 1920s, the Great Depression came along and decades later, television and the move to the suburbs were other changes that explain why so many downtown movie palaces were left vacant or converted to other uses.

By 1962, the number of movie theaters had fallen to 9,150, down from 14,716 in 1954. As one source noted, the glut of buildings in the 1920s led to the glut of demolition in the 1950s and 1960s.

But I think the wave of destruction is over. Today, the Hall Theatre houses the Panera Bread Company, The Blue Note continues to be a successful live music venue and the chief of operations at the Missouri Theatre has a plan designed to solve its financial problems.

This connection to the roaring 1920s was not visible to me until reporting connected the dots along Ninth Street. That’s why journalism, in which information is put into context, is so important.

Read the two-page package published on June 25, 2010 in the Columbia Business Times either at this link or below.

CBT Columbia Cinema Evolution p1 062510

CBT Columbia Cinema Evolution p2 062510

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