Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How small-town journalism changed my life

(The following was published a couple months ago by Publisher's Auxiliary--the publication for the National Newspaper Association.)

The Wonder of Weeklies
How small-town journalism changed my life

I catapulted into the quiet community of Tremonton, Utah as managing editor of their weekly newspaper like a missile into a glass of milk. This was my second job out of journalism school and not what I was planning on doing for a career. I was itching with ambition for New York when life threw me a curveball—love. I married a Northern Utah boy and didn’t have a wide variety of newspapers to choose from. Actually, there was no variety. It was either the Tremonton Leader or flipping burgers.

I entered my new position loaded with skepticism. But despite my initial reservations, my experience with small-town journalism transformed my life and love for writing.

I instantly recognized the opportunities a small paper provided. I wasn’t just writing most of the article inches, I got to delve into editorial writing and have my own column. I was editor-in-chief, receptionist, head photographer and layout designer. I didn’t merely have my fingers on the pulse of the community—I was often given the opportunity to be the heart that pumped it, creating events and seeing them through, opening a forum for serious community discourse alongside the rodeo queen announcements and first birthday photos.

But the real treat of small town journalism ended up being the difference I could make within its distinctive sphere.

Every small-town newspaper has the burden to practice serious journalism with its limited resources. This is something I didn’t expect coming from a much bigger publication. I thought weeklies were all about Prom queen photos and 50th anniversary announcements. But Tremonton was far away from the coverage of any big daily. I quickly discovered if I didn’t write about an issue, no one would.

Sometimes the stories that surfaced scared me. They were beyond my interest and experience. But I wrote about them anyway, and my confidence grew with each article. From murders to drug busts to elections, I filled the newspaper with important issues. This wasn’t always appreciated by everyone in the community. Sure, I received calls and letters from adoring fans, but I had twice as big of a response from the mud-slinging anonymous crowd. My skin thickened quickly.

I even have a twenty-page memo from the county attorney’s office that rips apart my writing skills and personal character. They sent it to my boss after I got the county attorney in a heap of trouble with the Utah Press Association for violating the Freedom of Information Act. (She was used to putting gag orders on public officials without authority. I revealed this illegal practice in print.) The memo was so scalding it almost melted our fax machine when we received it. But it’s one of my most prized possessions. I keep it in my portfolio alongside my awards as proof I’ve arrived as a journalist. I took on the big, scary stories and conquered them despite criticism. I let go of my pride and discovered a greater community good. This wasn’t just writing to make a name for myself or receive a pay check. This was real writing and had nothing to do with my resume.

After a year at the Leader my idea of what a successful career in journalism entailed completely shifted. I cared more about a publication’s ability to do good than its circulation numbers.

Our little paper took third for best quality in a national contest for weeklies. But what really made me value my time at the Tremonton Leader were things seemingly smaller. A call from the community re-hab clinic saying they had a record number of meth addicts check themselves in after reading my articles on the subject. The money raised in conjunction with an article that purchased a remote town a working ambulance—saving lives. A thank you from a family who treasured a feature I did on their son’s service in Iraq after he was killed in a roadside bombing.

I was addicted to my job and never planned on leaving. Then life threw me another curveball—a child. My son was born at three pounds, barely alive. I had to make the difficult decision to leave my full-time job in order to provide the extensive medical care he would need.

It’s now been two years since I left the Leader. The things I learned in my time at a small paper have provided success in surprising ways. My writing skills were sharpened as well as my sense for a good story. Now I'm writing novels. Maybe someday I’ll get to go back to my old job. Maybe not. But one thing is certain, I’m a different person—and, I dare say, a better person—because of it. That’s the wonder of weeklies.

44 comments:

Carole Thayne said...

Small towns are the greatest. I loved your essay--I bet they still miss you over there in Tremonton.

Cathy said...

Congratulations on your book! I know it's very belated, but I just found out. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy and read it. It's exciting to see how things are going with you. P.S. Your March post was so perfect! I was feeling the exact same way, and it was comforting to know that I wasn't alone - at least not alone in the way I was feeling. It's so great to "hear" from you!

Mary E Heaps said...

Arianne, I'm trying to find a way to contact you since I'm not sure if you'll check this, but I wanted to say Happy Birthday! Love your cousin, Mary

bird said...

I just stumbled on your blog from a google search and i really enjoyed this read. I am a rookie journalist that has been working the field for about 6 months at a small town paper. It's cool to see how I can relate to what you've wrote. thanks.

Krista said...

Good words.

Anonymous said...

viagra 34434 viagra rrp australia buying viagra viagra no prescription side effects of viagra viagra alternative viagra rx viagra for sale without a prescription soma and viagra prescriptions free viagra negative effects of viagra which is better cialis or viagra non prescription viagra viagra and alcohol cheap herbal viagra

Anonymous said...

[url=http://sapresodas.net/][img]http://vioperdosas.net/img-add/euro2.jpg[/img][/url]
[b]jeff nero hardy, [url=http://vioperdosas.net/]education discount software[/url]
[url=http://sapresodas.net/]kaspersky antivirus[/url] free photoshop brushes for macs buy free software
adobe photoshop album starter edition software [url=http://vioperdosas.net/]nero 9 serial number[/url] budget software canada
[url=http://sapresodas.net/]what is autocad[/url] nero 6 ultra edition serial number
[url=http://vioperdosas.net/]city software store[/url] selling software in the
mac filemaker pro alternative [url=http://sapresodas.net/]shipped software[/url][/b]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://seghan.ru/go.php?sid=35][img]http://i066.radikal.ru/1001/38/f22daff34e6d.jpg[/img][/url]












[url=http://deuaexj.naheliegend.de/]age to buy cigarettes quebec [/url]
ultra buy cigarettes age for buying cigarettes buy cigarette rolling machine
[url=http://uvfaquc.akzentuiert.de/sitemap.html]is advertising children to buy cigaretts [/url]
buy 1 get 1 free cigarettes buy cheap cigarette dirt age to buy cigarettes in new jersey
[url=http://tioozua.connection24.de/]buy virginia slims cigarettes online [/url]
buying cigarettes in wyoming buy american spirit organic light cigarettes buy non fsc cigarettes
[url=http://mlwqdwu.xn--baldmglichst-8ib.de/]order cigarette lighters wholesale [/url]
buy cigarettes in kanas buy cigarettes forum buy usa gold cigarettes online
[url=http://tyouhca.xn--geglckt-q2a.de/sitemap.html]e cigarettes where to buy [/url]
buy cigarettes in new buy cartons cigarettes order cigarettes outlet hit bg
[url=http://wcsoius.biz.co.nl/]where to buy cigarette rollers [/url]
buy cigarettes in usa can buy cigarettes order electronic cigarette cartridges
[url=http://tyouhca.xn--geglckt-q2a.de/]buy black market cigarettes [/url]
buy cigarettes in buying cheap cigarettes in the usa buy duty free cigarettes online
[url=http://uvfaquc.akzentuiert.de/sitemap.html]buy indonesian cigarettes [/url]
buy smokeless eclipse cigarette buy cheap cigarettes com buy cigarettes indian
[url=http://ubpscsn.pro.ac/sitemap.html]order cigarettes outlet [/url]
where to buy crown 7 cigarettes i buy cheap cigarettes buy tobacco buy cigarettes online parliament
[url=http://deuaexj.naheliegend.de/]buying cigarettes directly [/url]
buy plastic cigarette holder buy huanghelou cigarettes buying cigarettes at age 13

Anonymous said...

[B]NZBsRus.com[/B]
Dont Bother With Slow Downloads With NZB Downloads You Can Hastily Search Movies, PC Games, MP3 Albums, Software & Download Them @ Rapid Speeds

[URL=http://www.nzbsrus.com][B]Newsgroup Search[/B][/URL]

Anonymous said...

Genial fill someone in on and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you on your information.

Anonymous said...

Good fill someone in on and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

Anonymous said...

Amiable brief and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you seeking your information.

Anonymous said...

It isn't hard at all to start making money online in the undercover world of [URL=http://www.www.blackhatmoneymaker.com]blackhat ebook[/URL], You are far from alone if you haven’t heard of it before. Blackhat marketing uses little-known or not-so-known methods to produce an income online.

Anonymous said...

Hi


One of my friends sends me an email telling me that I can sell some of used clothing on http://www.BuySellDirect.net FREE service and make money at home, tell know I made over one thousand dollar, and it is time to tell you, why you should use Ebay to sell your things when you can use http://www.BuySellDirect.net free.


http://www.BuySellDirect.net is what ebay users dream to have

generic propecia said...

Hello people want to express my satisfaction with this blog very creative and I really like the views of the focus very good indeed Thank you for the helpful information. I hope you keep up the good work on making your blog a success!

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone


http://www.BuySellDirect.net is the Future of FREE E-commerce where you can sell your products and make real money at home.


http://www.BuySellDirect.net is what ebay users need to sell FREE on the internet.

Term Papers said...

I have been visiting various blogs for my term papers writing research. I have found your blog to be quite useful. Keep updating your blog with valuable information... Regards

Anonymous said...

It is similar to it.

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.pi7.ru/seks-sekrety/1567-lindsey-lohan-vernulas-k-byvshey-vozlyublennoy.html ]Мытье головы раз в неделю:( [/url]
Скоро летим с мужем в Индонезию, это наша первая совместная поездка заграницу. Посоветуйте что очень важно с собой взять из лекарств?

Anonymous said...

You have hit the mark. It is excellent thought. I support you.

Chin Sink said...

Nice content, I trust this is a nice blog. Wish to see fresh content next time. Thanks for sharing this post with us. Keep it up.buy cigarettes

Anonymous said...

Message30, http://www.arlo.net/massacree/ viagra online, kkkv7, http://www.arlo.net/fccgb/ order viagra without prescription, qnbn7, http://www.arlo.net/fccgb/notes/ generic viagra online, kqwd5, http://www.arlo.net/bytes/ viagra cheap, xxmr3, http://www.arlo.net/live/ viagra for sale

Anonymous said...

MtxGfz [url=http://www.outletmonclerspacciopiumini.com/]Moncler Piumino,Spaccio Moncler[/url] RgrZmj http://www.outletmonclerspacciopiumini.com/

SelOlo [url=http://www.vnikefree.com/]Billige Nike Free Sko[/url] JanMnl http://www.vnikefree.com/

GepMub [url=http://www.outletmonclerspaccio.com/]Moncler Outlet[/url] YzvWnk http://www.outletmonclerspaccio.com/

UrtHhw [url=http://www.Jakker2canadagoose.com/]Canada Goose[/url] KwvNxx http://www.Jakker2canadagoose.com/

JxbPrd [url=http://www.parkajakker4canadagoose.com/]Canada Goose From Canada[/url] IrvMfj http://www.parkajakker4canadagoose.com/

OqxXsd [url=http://www.jakke2canadagoose.com/]Goose Jakker[/url] NtaRsu http://www.jakke2canadagoose.com/

PajGqf [url=http://www.canadagoosefromcanada.com/]Canada Goose[/url] KnbGvf http://www.canadagoosefromcanada.com/

Anonymous said...

I visit everyday a few web sites and sites to read posts, but this webpage offers quality based articles.
Also visit my web blog errol

Anonymous said...

Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort
to create a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.
Also see my web page :: yachtzubehor

Anonymous said...

Hi, i feel that i noticed you visited my site thus i came to return the
desire?.I am attempting to find things to enhance my
site!I suppose its ok to make use of some of your
concepts!!
Also visit my web-site - la nautica

Anonymous said...

Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell
and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear."
She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside
and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is
completely off topic but I had to tell someone!
My page ... accessori nautica

Anonymous said...

I am in fact delighted to read this web site posts which consists of tons of valuable data, thanks for
providing these kinds of statistics.
Check out my page OnlyCruiser.com

Anonymous said...

Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as
you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a
weblog site? The account aided me a appropriate deal.
I were tiny bit familiar of this your broadcast offered vibrant
transparent idea
my webpage :: The Tao of Badass

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just wish to give you a huge thumbs up for the excellent info
you've got right here on this post. I'll be coming back to your blog for more soon.
My website > click through the up coming internet page

Anonymous said...

top [url=http://www.c-online-casino.co.uk/]free casino[/url] brake the latest [url=http://www.realcazinoz.com/]free casino games[/url] autonomous no set aside perk at the chief [url=http://www.baywatchcasino.com/]no put reward
[/url].

Anonymous said...

Meteorite that struck today in Russia from entering the atmosphere have a width of 15 meters - NASA said. According to NASA, a meteor which fell in Russia was higher than that in the 8 October 2009 hit Indonesia. Kredyty

Anonymous said...

It's the best time to make some plans for the future and it's time to
be happy. I have read this post and if I could
I want to suggest you some interesting things
or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.
I want to read more things about it!

my website - http://outbacknomads.timdiekman.com

Anonymous said...

I like it whenever people get together and share thoughts.
Great website, continue the good work!

My blog - nevelde

Anonymous said...

Helpful info. Fortunate me I discovered your web site unintentionally, and I
am shocked why this coincidence didn't happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

Feel free to surf to my web site :: escort amsterdam

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful that you are getting ideas from this post as well as from our argument made at this time.

my web page television show

Anonymous said...

When applied in cool, wet weather, it can cause burning of the leaves and the russeting
of fruit. Use the cultivator to make holes in the soil and turn it up just a little between the rows.
Subtle gardening themes act upon the subconscious, and merely give the observer a
pleasant feeling.

Visit my web site: husk

Anonymous said...

Step Three Coat your hair Comb your hair into small sections.
3  Coconut oil: To have a beautiful, shiny hair
and stimulate hair growth, give yourself a scalp massage with warm coconut oil once a week.
I confess that I was a little bit skeptical at
initially. The remaining oil in the scalp for a day and then follow up with a shampoo the next morning.
As a hair growth stimulant, you can add 10 drops of rosemary oil, 10 drops of sandalwood oil and 10
drops of lavender oil to 50ml of carrier oil and
massage it into your scalp.

my web blog; how to grow hair faster

Anonymous said...

This makes the mixing phase a lot easier,
just put in your concrete and water, and off you go by the wheelbarrow load.
The estimate you receive will be based on the number of skips you need, what size skip you want, and
how long you plan to keep it. Flawless Flooring's polished concrete floor product boasts durability and decorative seamless surfaces made mainly from epoxy and polyurethane materials.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post's to be what precisely I'm looking for.
Would you offer guest writers to write content available for you?

I wouldn't mind composing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome weblog!

my web site ... does raspberry ketones work

Anonymous said...

What's Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & aid other users like its aided me. Great job.

Feel free to surf to my web page; http://www.babesflick.com/

Anonymous said...

Hiya! Quick question that's totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I'm trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix
this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share.
Thanks!

My blog post - sexygirlchat.net

Anonymous said...

Believing that recognition that way with the idol vocalist Miho Utsuse is the approach to get the romance regarding 30,500 people the girl has to grow to be actually human, Crucial chases a new vocal range occupation. Yet Key doesn?t shout?or even party. On top of that, your mystical clergyman Royal prince SnakeEye is convinced that will Crucial?s uncommon forces ought to be useful for faith based motivation, not show company, and he and the fans with their far better to sabotage Crucial?azines efforts.

And we don't [url=http://www.northernperiphery.net/insanityworkout.asp]insanity workout[/url]
require elctro magnetic weaponry! For your passion for humanity these crazies inside science, Central intelligence agency, Military services , and many others. have to be halted before many of us are damaged! Can they not necessarily comprehend the consequence they will have on this planet along with the ambiance? Are they which carried away that all they care concerning is the identify and successes even when they ruin all of us along with the globe? Many experts have 50 plus many years we've got to be able to make use of clear free power as well as the explanation we have not put on the extender is because [url=http://www.northernperiphery.net/insanityworkout.asp]insanity workout UK[/url]
the important acrylic companies and their hpye for funds as well as electrical power. Yet another thing, an excellent quote via hitler "tell the people something plus they pay attention, inform them there is a menace and so they consider, place fear in folks plus you've got their support because individuals are usually ridiculous along with think everything else you let them know when you are anyone inside the power seat".

My partner and i put on know very well what you need to do about this. My partner and i put on have any idea the way you set out to stop which. (such as California, The state of nevada along with [url=http://insanityworkoutuk.tripod.co.uk/]insanity workout[/url]
Az) prides itself on offering firstrun twice capabilities (help save with regard to elite events) on the cheap which is fairly the sale, considering their own 65foot window screens are some of the biggest in the business..

If you appropriately place a greeting card directly into one of many video poker machines, . Unlike bank cards, sensible playing cards can have several makes use of and so the damage could be a lot more undesirable. Three females ended up seated while dining a great .. Take Responsibility The most effective way to be able to get into your pessimism lure is as simple as making who you are a prey . But for the other side, to look at responsibility for your steps is always to take charge of your happiness. Remember everyday which even though we may are not prepared to management how are you affected to us, we are forever in power over our side effects..

Next we can easily do is lower your capitol gains duty if not completely and then for the time being down to zero. There are roughly Tough luck billion dollars U . s . owned or operated bucks in away from shore records across the world. These kinds of total funds are becoming held away from each of our place's overall economy with regard to taxes factors.

These folks were very chaotic while the Thursday night with the 6th book was a minor treehugger. It absolutely was simply a a few believing that they should meet and also interact with one other."The Excellent Samuel Pepys Disaster shows up under Fforde's previous guides in front of 1st Amongst Sequels and although it can be crossed away as well as evidently inaccessible, surely more naive supporters can seek out the particular nonexistent tome online?"They will not likely think it is,Inch a silly joke Fforde. "But it will be entertaining to write this later on.

Anonymous said...

Who actually doesn't recall their own mom estimating this time period lots of periods throughout your teenage many years. How to take good health: Health boosts self confidence together with endurance. Come about will be to lose 10 percent weight by the end of your sixty a short time. mother in addition to friends testified that Singleton, elevated in a non secular relatives, undergone the personality improve while in college or university and eventually fallen [url=http://insanitydvduk.tripod.co.uk/]insanity download[/url]
outside. Placing themselves during the Bible, Singleton withdrew via the spouse and children and started creating scriptures on your wall at your house. With one time they renounced cash mainly because evil..

Oddly enough, nearly all personality homework in sport and workout mindsets is not going to secure the indisputable fact that professional personas promote a regular set of character traits. Presently there would not are a certain form of style profile which will conjectures being successful in different [url=http://www.sreecgmath.org/insanitydvduk.html]Insanity DVD[/url]
recreation. physical and mental strength) and appear to have devised wonderful coping methods for handling challenges through following more appropriate tactics for handling physical and mental ache..

Along with some good reason, My partner and i had not been taken aback. It had become inside lavatory with me, We recognized this. I didnrrrt have to look, I really sensed that right now there. Additionally boasts manufactured are which the desolate are generally minorities or [url=http://insanitydvduk.tripod.co.uk/]insanity workout[/url]
immigration of which won't be able to get at higher wages or simply profits resulting from helpful and also legal issues. This specific in addition is bogus, because numbers indicate. Within the abandoned that were interviewed Fifty four.9% were being whitened, 18.8% were being dark, 25% ended up being hispanic, 6% were native american, and 7.7% advertised many combination of ethnic background or perhaps culture.

You'll receive these days executed 3060 hrs, according to measures. That they unlike a plan you have done in earlier times, and it's also several of the actions are incredibly progressive. Get to stress discover appropriate these days, although need to imagine that eventually it will eventually demonstrate everything you do completely worthwhile.

The particular Walnut creek Cops ended up lately judge purchased to help survey the routines to the federally accredited representative. In case the cops add hold their particular violence down, any ascertain will certainly assemble the team under fed supervision. I really couldn assistance however ponder whether the dept simply just made a decision to put in a major attach someone to the particular ascertain plus placed their brutality one step further..

This Madness workouts are no actual typical work out. You just cannot accurately get started doing Barry Capital t with no a little a trustworthy fitness level. People would like to the whole pair of energy levels you might for this purpose schooling thus obtain enough rest the evening just before.